Automated Patent System:
Information on PTO's Program to Automate Patent Information and Processes
T-IMTEC-92-20, May 28, 1992
GAO discussed the Patent and Trademark Office's (PTO) effort to develop its Automated Patent System (APS), focusing on what PTO has accomplished through its automation effort, and what remains to be done. GAO noted that: (1) of the five systems that will make up APS, only the full-text searching system is available to the entire examiner corps; (2) since 1986, all 1,800 PTO examiners have had access to full-text searches of all U.S. patents issued since 1971; (3) PTO has made progress in automating its paper files and manual processes, but much automation work remains; (4) PTO has provided widely varying estimates for when it expects to have APS completely deployed and how much it will cost to develop APS; and (5) attributes the 2002 planned deployment date to a decision by agency management to hold funding for APS to $55 million annually for each of the next 10 years.