On average, Fish and Richardson (F&R) files more than 4,000 patent applications each year. Of these applications, F&R obtains more than 1,500 patents each year. Not surprisingly, F&R handles massive amounts of print documentation related to all aspects of the patent application process.
The process used by F&R to manage its paper documentation required much time and effort. When print documentation arrived at F&R via mail or fax, F&R’s support staff needed to manually review and route the paperwork to the appropriate staff members. Often, multiple copies had to be made and distributed to the appropriate lawyers and other personnel. This process added an extra day or two to the distribution process. In addition, when an email arrived, it needed to be routed to the appropriate staff and there was no way to easily access and sort through all emails.
To facilitate the exchange of information among offices and streamline procedures, F&R sought to better manage its incoming volumes of print documentation by switching to an electronic system for content and document management. F&R worked with a few systems integrators to develop a solution, and had created an interface for their system. However, the firm found that it was in need of a higher level of customized support, and decided to partner with a new solutions provider.
F&R turned to Quality Associates, Inc. (QAI), a systems integrator that built its reputation by performing large-scale implementations of advanced document and knowledge management solutions for major government agencies, such as NIH, FDA, and DOD.
Rolf Hille, director of practice systems, F&R, said, “We chose to work with Quality Associates because we needed an experienced solutions provider who could handle the complexity and scope of this project. We could not simply purchase an off-the-shelf solution, because we needed additional support and customization for our ten geographically diverse locations.”
QAI consulted with F&R and performed a requirements analysis. As a partner to all the leading providers of document scanning and management software and hardware, QAI was able to develop the customized solution to meet F&R’s precise needs. The solution, called the Automated Practice System (APS), enables F&R to scan, store, retrieve and manage all incoming documents.
The APS includes four elements:
- Kofax Ascent Capture: Scanning software that enables data capture via the Internet from documents scanned at remote sites. This software also generates searchable PDFs, which are then released into the document storage and management software.
- Interwoven/IManage Document storage and management software.
- Handysoft Bizflow: Business process management and workflow software platform.
- User interface custom-designed by F&R that integrates all three solutions. This interface also links to databases such as ProLaw and MicroPatent that F&R uses for research.
For the project, QAI upgraded F&R to the newest available version of the Kofax Ascent Capture software, and added an Ascent Capture Internet Server to make it possible to use the software in a distributed environment. The solution was rolled-out across all ten F&R locations, and the implementation included the installation of additional PDF processing servers to handle high-volume days.
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