Earlier this week, on Tuesday, August 7, 2012, Red River, a leading provider of IT products and services to the government and healthcare sectors, announced it was awarded a contract to provide commercial-off-the-shelf (COTS) IT products and related services to the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO). The multiple award, indefinite-delivery/indefinite-quantity (IDIQ) contract has a one-year base period of performance, four one-year options and a total ceiling value of $50 million.
“The Patent and Trademark Office has a remarkable tradition of innovation and cutting-edge use of advanced technology solutions, exemplified by their recent deployment of secure mobility solutions for their workforce,” said Rick Bolduc, CEO of Red River. “We’ve been a long-term technology partner for the USPTO and are honored to continue to support their IT needs and help them achieve their mission objectives.”
While the announcement did not say what specific product or products would be provided by Red River to the USPTO, one can surmise that it may well relate to Red River’s telework platform. Among other offerings, Red River delivers deployable telework solutions that power a remote workforce. The Customizable Red River Telework Kits (RTKs) are pre-packaged kits that can include software-based telephones with headsets, high performance laptops pre-loaded with software that enables HD-quality video teleconferencing.
The USPTO is in the midst of updating and upgrading their computer systems; they are getting free assistance from Google to scan previously unsearchable image files into usable, searchable text; and the Office is working on what they call “Patents End to End” (“PE2E”), which is expected to be deployed sometime during 2013. Essentially, the IT department at the USPTO is working from the ground up to bring the Patent Office into the 21st Century. This is all happening at a time when the telework program at the USPTO is being touted as a great success by the Obama Administration.
While telework has been quite successful (see Patent Hoteling Program Succeeding as a Business Strategy), there is no doubt that it comes with its fair share of challenges. I have heardabout examiners who work from home doing video conferencing, so a contract with Red River, who specializes in telework platforms, suggests that the USPTO is moving full steam ahead and working hard to provide a high-quality work experience for examiners who are remote to a USPTO Office.
Written by Gene Quinn of IPWatchdog.com