Paperless Office is the Answer for Multinational Corporate IP Division
Keeping up with a rapidly growing patent portfolio was becoming a problem for the IP Department of this multinational pharmaceutical company. The company’s patent, trademark and litigation portfolios had substantially expanded due to a number of acquisitions. Attorneys were overloaded with work and a freeze placed on any increased in headcount. IP Managers were under pressure to better balancing the workload of attorney’s and across different physical locations however, information on attorney’s portfolios was often outdated, inconsistent and inaccurate. Administrative, attorney support and docketing staff were overloaded with work and struggling to keeping control of the files; physically storing, locating and transferring the files between offices and in and out of off-site storage facilities where storage overflowed in some offices. Not forgetting the booming work for the litigation attorneys and outside counsel caused by the increasing in number of patents being litigated.
The IP division was encountering both one-off challenges, from global restructuring and acquisitions, as well as the on-going problems managing the growth of the operation. In common with both of these was the management and storage of paper files. An ongoing and ever growing problem, given the need to retain patent documents for 26 years and trademark files even longer.
Our advice was to enable the patent, trademark and litigation departments to access files quickly and reliably, no matter which office they originated. It also allowed attorneys to collaborate more efficiently across offices, and with inventors.
WHAT WE DID
We analysed the company’s business processes in each of the IP offices around the world and identified where improvements could be made to business processes and where technology could help. We defined the business and technology requirements for a new global solution to the business problems. Using our knowledge of the software and hardware marketplace we managed to expedite reducing this to a shortlist of potential providers and issued a request for proposal. The responses were evaluated and the successful candidate systems were put through rigorous workshops. We defined typical business process scenarios that were simulated to assess the improvements in business efficiency, and tested the performance and scalability of the solution. With the confidence of reliability and robustness that was needed to ensure success, the software was chosen and we advised on contractual terms and negotiations with suppliers. We worked with the provider to prototype the software and hardware in a model office environment, configuring document storage structures before rolling it out in phases to offices around the globe.
We created a separate project to deal with challenges of converting of the enormous number of files and paper documents that needed to be scanned. We developed innovative strategies to ensure the conversion was carried out with minimal disruption to attorneys’ and their clients. The conversion approach focused on ensuring attorneys benefited from the file conversation immediately and this was key to the successful adoption of the Paperless Office.
To ensure successful delivery, we employed our project management standards, from defining and initiating the projects along with their success criteria through to producing project plans, budgeting and approval. Throughout the project we coordinated action, reviewed progress against the plan, and controlled deviation of progress where required. We employed a clear communication program using internal memo, email, web based information to manage expectations across many disparate office sites, respond to question and succeed with the psychological change, finished off with personal training to ensure successful adoption.
The paperless office system delivered immediate benefits to attorneys and staff enabling faster and more reliable access to documents. As the roll of software and conversion of documents moved rapidly from office to office this benefit grew, and within a short time, the benefits of multiple office came into play allowing cases to be transferred rapidly and reliably and work deployed to the most suitable attorneys. The litigation attorneys benefited from being able to access attorneys files instantly, given security permissions and allowed multiple people to work on the same case files.
All together, the solution has made this IP division a world class leader in paperless office, it has exceeded all expectation and the return on investment has come in a much shorter time due to much greater financial savings that expected.
To discuss the challenges that your organisation faces or find out more, please contact us.