Trademark Automation:

Information on System Problems and Planned Improvements

IMTEC-91-1: Published: Oct 9, 1990. Publicly Released: Nov 8, 1990.

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Pursuant to a congressional request, GAO reviewed T-Search, the Patent and Trademark Office's (PTO) automated search and retrieval system for trademark registration information, focusing on user satisfaction and possible improvements to the system.

GAO found that: (1) public users and attorneys complained of slow search times; (2) attorneys' access to T-Search was constrained by the limited number of computer terminals and limited system availability; (3) users were concerned about significant inaccuracies in the database, including numerous data errors and inconsistent coding by PTO staff; (4) T-Search was difficult to use due to such problems as inefficient printing procedures, unreliable phonetic searches, and limited search functions; (5) backup paper files were in poor condition; (6) PTO planned to replace T-Search with a new system that might include a more powerful mainframe and compact disk technology; and (7) PTO planned such interim improvements to T-Search as multiple software copies, computer terminal relocation, use of compact disks, adding spellchecking capability, and partial fallback to paper files.

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