Automated Patent System:

Information on PTO's Program to Automate Patent Information and Processes

T-IMTEC-92-19: Published: May 12, 1992. Publicly Released: May 12, 1992.

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GAO discussed the Patent and Trademark Office's (PTO) efforts to develop its Automated Patent System (APS). GAO noted that: (1) in 1983, PTO began a long-term program to automate its paper files along with patent application, examination, and dissemination processes; (2) by October 1992, PTO estimates that it will have spent $417 million on APS; (3) PTO estimates that it will spend $555 million on APS over the next 10 years; (4) the primary goals in automating PTO patent information and processes are to improve PTO internal processes, improve patent quality, and facilitate public access to patent information; (5) of the five systems that make up APS, only one is available to the entire patent examiner corps; and (6) PTO is making progress in automating its paper files and manual processes, but much remains to be done if it is to complete APS by 2002. GAO also noted four issues that could affect future APS development, including: (1) PTO cost and development schedules; (2) PTO long-range business plan; (3) the APS system development methodology; and (4) the benefits of APS to users.

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