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50 Years

50 Years

50 Years is a remarkable milestone whether it is a birthday, wedding, anniversary, friendship, employment or partnership. Reed Tech is celebrating our own 50 Year Anniversary in 2020, and as part of our celebration we are looking back at our company’s rich history of growth, innovation, and evolution. 

Below are scales showing the patent growth through the years of issues patents for Utility, Design, Plant, Reissue patents and Defensive Publications. Through the years as technology improved, the number of patents ICC and, later, Reed Tech were able to process continued to increase.

1970-1972   |   1973-1975   |   1976-1978   |    1979-1981   |   1982-1984   |   1985-1987   |   1988-1990   |   1991-1993

1994-1996   |   1997-1999   |   2000-2002   |   2003-2005   |   2006-2008   |   2009-2011   |   2012-2014

1970-1972

In 1969, the United States Patent Office invited bids for the data capture of a sizeable volume of patent applications with the Patent Office doing all of its own type-setting and composition work. Although there were nearly 400 computer companies that were interested, all but six stepped aside when it came time to submit firm proposals. Hans Nickel and his team diligently prepared International Computaprint Corporation (ICC) with the capabilities of inputting intricate formatting codes and characters to process through the company’s computers. These codes and characters were proofread, corrected, and delivered on magnetic tapes to the Patent Office for the Government Printing Office to set complete composed pages. All of the hard work by the ICC team paid off by winning the initial contract which was signed in 1970. Within a year of signing the contract, ICC’s total number of employees increased from 66 to 490 due to the large amount of material to be typed and proofread. Now that was a great beginning!

1973-1975

Did you know there was a time when ICC (now Reed Tech) printed and distributed U.S. Patents? As ICC continued to strengthen our capabilities by capturing chemical and mathematical structures for publishing in 1974, we were in hot pursuit of finding additional opportunities for growth. That advancement came in 1975 when we found an opportunity to duplicate the same patents which ICC had been processing for five years. Although there was a small printing division already in existence with two presses and four employees to produce Bell Telephone printing, this expansion resulted in the opening of a separate printing plant. This new 24,000 square foot facility housed 10 printing presses and 80 employees who printed and distributed over 74,000 patents!

1976-1978

1976 – A Busy Bicentennial Year

In 1976, ICC (now Reed Tech) acquired our seventh consecutive contract with the United States Patent & Trademark Office. The USPTO entrusted us with the Patent Data Capture contract as we continually demonstrated our understanding of the importance of innovation while producing high quality deliverables for the USPTO.

To celebrate the bicentennial year of 1976, the USPTO designed a one-of-a-kind, hand-inscribed patent signed by President Gerald Ford. On February 11, 1976 in commemoration of the founding of the American patent system and National Inventors Day, the signed patent grant was presented at Independence Hall to Sidney Jacoby of Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. Mr. Jacoby’s U.S. Patent No. 3,938,115 for “Combination Smoke and Heat Detector Alarm” issued on February 10, 1976. 

Note a fun fact that February 11th holds additional significance in patent history as that is the birthdate of Thomas Alva Edison who amassed a total 1,093 patents in his lifetime! Edison, who was born in 1847 and died in 1931 was not around to see Mr. Jacoby receive his prestigious patent in 1976.

There was one final milestone in 1976 when the 4 millionth patent was issued on Dec. 28, 1976. Inventor Robert Mendenhall of Las Vegas, Nevada received this patent for a “Process for Recycling Asphalt-Aggregate Compositions”. At the time of his death in 2018, Mr. Mendenhall held 47 patents. 

In 1976, Nadia Comaneci becomes the first gymnast to score a perfect 10 for her routine on the uneven bars at the Montreal Olympics.

1977 was a big year for Star Wars fans. Star Wars was released May 25, 1977. Elvis Presley died in his home, August 16, 1977.

In 1978, we were hopelessly devoted to the movie Grease. Reese’s pieces and the Whatchamacallit made their debut along with Cabbage Patch dolls. Nike redefined the running shoe in 1978 and students got organized with the Trapper Keeper.

Claudia Schmidt’s cousin John S. Frazer also patented a drainable container base in October 1977: 

1979-1981

Expansion

In 1979 after the award of the latest USPTO contract, ICC’s (now Reed Tech) patent division split from the commercial division and moved from Fort Washington, Pa. to 271 Gibraltar Road, Horsham, Pa. Though more space was needed due to the expansion of the patent process, ICC only occupied approximately 1/4 of the building at that time.

To celebrate the bicentennial year of 1976, the USPTO designed a one-of-a-kind, hand-inscribed patent signed by President Gerald Ford. On February 11, 1976 in commemoration of the founding of the American patent system and National Inventors Day, the signed patent grant was presented at Independence Hall to Sidney Jacoby of Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. Mr. Jacoby’s U.S. Patent No. 3,938,115 for “Combination Smoke and Heat Detector Alarm” issued on February 10, 1976.

ICC also added another activity to our production shortly after moving to Gilbraltar Road. We started to convert line drawings to database storage and retrieval utilizing our newly installed I. I. I. Videocamp 570, a camera and a scanning device acquired specifically for this project.

In October 1980, ICC was once again awarded the contract to print and distribute patents. The nature of the patent printing contract resulted in very few suppliers being capable of meeting all of the requirements. For the first five years that ICC held the contract, our printing division continued to develop procedures and techniques unique to ICC to handle the volumes and complexity of work involved. Patents range anywhere between 2 to 16 printed pages with the average being 8 pages. Quantity requests per patent range from 40 to 275 copies with the average being 150 copies per patent. During the life of this particular contract it took approximately 30,000 pounds of paper, equivalent to almost one full tractor trailer load per week, 3,000 separate printing plates and 25 pounds of ink per day to meet the printing demand.

 Do you see the positive trend of our ability to evolve and produce quality products that allows us to position ourselves for attaining business? 

In 1979, McDonalds introduced the Happy Meal – it continued a hamburger or cheeseburger, fries, a soft drink and cookies and a toy. ESPN launched in 1979.

In 1980, CNN was launched, the US defeated the Soviet Union in ice hockey in what was labeled the Miracle on Ice. That summer the US lead a boycott of the Moscow Olympics in protest of the Soviet invasion of Afghanistan.

1981 saw the first flight of the Space Shuttle Columbia. MS-DOS was released by Microsoft, along with the first IBM PC. Prince Charles married Lady Diana Spencer. Sandra Day O’Connor became the first female justice on the US Supreme Court.

In 1980, Anne Souffrin’s uncle Harold E. Kenney (along with Arthur W. Schwab and Lyle E. Gast) was granted a patent for Tetrasulfide extreme pressure lubricant additives. 

1982-1984

Taking it to the Next Level

In 1983-84 ICC integrated OCR (Optical Character Recognition) capabilities into our processes to modernize our text data capture process and better serve our USPTO customer. The “Caere” Series 500 OCR reader, which at the time was built with state-of-the-art large scale integration (LSI) technology, offered a new dimension that was instrumental in cultivating improved quality and faster throughput. The scanner read eight commonly used typewriter fonts, reducing the need to full key a large portion of the abstract, specification and claims. The OCR output was paired with an edit program developed by ICC to detect a variety of conditions within the application (ex. identifying sections and indents, formatting of common terms) and apply composition codes. This new process minimized errors while reducing human interaction.

ICC editors located in Alexandria, VA, determined which patents appeared “readable” and were therefore candidates for scanning. The editors identified which pages should be scanned and which pages would have to be typed. These applications were then shipped to Horsham, PA, where the operators placed the scannable pages through the reader. A computer program then edited the text data from the reader and wrote it onto a disk file to be retrieved later. Typists retrieved the text from the disk and utilized the “WordStar” and “WordPerfect” text editing programs to clean-up the data and insert additional composition codes for typesetting.

Ahhh, the 80’s. In 1982, Late Night with David Letterman debuted in February; ET, the Extra Terrestrial was released in June; the first issue of USA Today was published and Epcot opened in Orlando. In 1983, Sally Ride became the first American woman in space; Swatch introduced Swatch watches; Microsoft released “word” as the word processing program. 1984 saw the first Apple Macintosh PC go on sale; Band Aid was formed and recorded the song “Do they know its Christmas”; The summer Olympics were hosted in Los Angeles, CA and were boycotted by the Soviet Union and several other countries.

In 1982, Ann Brozenske’s Uncle Curtis (Michener) was granted a patent for a Header device for electrochemical cells.

1985-1987

New Look

In 1985 the USPTO redesigned the patent grant cover. This new design was the first of its kind as the patent pages were no longer bound together with the cover by an actual ribbon. Instead thermal binding was introduced to essentially glue the patent pages and cover together. The previous patent grant cover was in service for 82 years as it was designed in 1903.

999,998,999,999, 1 million! That’s right, in 1986 ICC processed its 1 millionth patent. Our first patent was U.S. Pat. No. 3,522,749, titled “Fluid Assisted Hole Punching” issuing on August 4, 1970. Sixteen years and one month later, U.S. Pat. No. 4,613,269 titled “Robotic Acquistion of Objects by Means Including Histogram Techniques” issued September 23, 1986. Back in the day we were processing approximately 18 million keystrokes per day and producing 3 million photo-composed pages per year. Our employees and technological expertise allowed us to reach this significant milestone and contributed to our success as a business for years to come.

Ahhh, the 80’s. In 1985, Coca Cola introduced “New Coke”. The compact disc (CD) was introduced. The first .com was registered. Windows version 1.0 was introduced. Michael Jordan is named “Rookie of the Year” in May 1985. Live Aid concerts around the world raise millions to help the starving in Africa. The popular comic strip Calvin and Hobbes debuted in November. In 1986, the Space Shuttle Challenger explodes shortly after take off. The Human Genome Project is launched to understand the Human Makeup, this will open the way for great advances in the treatment of many illnesses. The worst ever Nuclear Disaster occurs as the Chernobyl Nuclear Power Station explodes, causing the release of radioactive material across much of Europe. The Oprah Winfrey show debuts nationally. Halley’s comet reaches the closest point to earth, during its second visit to the solar system in the 20th century. D’oh, the Simpsons shorts launched on the Tracey Ullman Show in 1987. The US Stock Market drops 22.6% in one day on October 19, by the end of October, HongKong has dropped by 45.8%. Have mercy! Full House debuts.

1988-1990

Progress

Progress is a recurring theme as we move through our 50 years of business with the USPTO. To expand our capabilities within the patent data capture process the electronic capture of drawings moved to the forefront in 1989. After evaluating the requirements and determining the best course of action, the Image Scanning Department, utilizing AIIMS (Association for Information and Image Management System), came to fruition in 1990. Similar to the OCR process which was previously integrated into our text data capture process, the drawing pages were separated from the patent and manually scanned by the Image Scanning Operators. Each drawing was then reviewed, cleaned up and saved according to USPTO specifications.

As we move into the 1990’s, the patent volume continues to increase. ICC brought subcontractors on board to capture approximately 23% of text data each week. These subcontractors located in Florida and California were responsible for “full-keying” patent text pages that were deemed unscannable. In order to meet ICC’s standard of quality the subcontractors employed a uniquely different method of text data capture. Each patent was keyed and rekeyed by two different operators. During the rekey process, differences were inspected between the two versions via computer comparisons. All patents were then fully proofread as a final quality check before returning the completed data to ICC.

In 1988, Prozc hits the market as an anti-depressant. A bomb explodes on Pan Am Flight 103 over Lockerbie in Scotland. The first major virus infects computers connected to the internet. In 1989, Microsoft releases its Office Suite including spreadsheet, Word Processor, Database and Presentation software. After 30 years the Cold War between East and West ends following the Malta conference and the Berlin Wall starts to come down. Thousands of Students occupy Tiananmen Square in Beijing, China protesting for democracy, Chinese Government declares martial law and hundreds of Demonstrators are killed. Toyota launches its luxury brand the Lexus. In Alaska’s Prince William Sound the Exxon Valdez spills 240,000 barrels (11 million gallons) of oil after running aground. In 1990, General Motors launches Saturn cars; Fox airs the Simpsons for the first time; In February Nelson Mandela is released from prison. Tim Berners-Lee publishes his formal proposal for the World Wide Web during November. The US enters a major recession.

1991-1993

Just the Fax

The time between the issuance of U.S. Pat. No. 4,000,000 and U.S. Pat. No. 5,000,000 spanned 14 years and 3 months. The 5 millionth patent titled “Ethanol Production by ESCHERICHIA COLI Strains Co-expressing ZYMOMONAS PDC and ADH Genes” was granted on Mar. 19, 1991 to Lonnie Ingram, Tyrrell Conway and Flavio Alterthum. This patent created a means to use E. coli bacteria to produce ethanol as a fermentation product. Just imagine all the changes that are in store as we work our way to U.S. Pat. No. 6,000,000!

During the USPTO patent examination process the claims section is the most likely to be challenged as the claims define the scope of the invention. The examination of the claims typically results in amendments that change or cancel existing claims and/or add brand new claims. The frequent and sometimes complicated changes cause discrepancies amongst the claims more often than not. In 1991, ICC’s Editors located in Alexandria, Va. placed additional focus on the handling of claim information. By increasing their awareness and having the ability to sort through each claim amendment to determine the proper order of claims approved by the examiner, the ICC Editors provided a more accurate and organized document for downstream processes.

More improvements to Reed Tech processes continued as WordPerfect software was introduced in the text data capture process and Quattro Pro software was introduced for record keeping activities. WordPerfect contained advanced features and displayed a cleaner output while Quattro Pro was the first spreadsheet program to use tabbed sheets, offered more rows and columns and higher capabilities in handling data. These cutting edge tools were soon be overtaken by Microsoft software. As technology changed at a fast pace, ICC also continued to change to stay ahead of competitors.

With our knowledge and years of experience in the processing of patents it made logical sense to branch out into the corporate world. In 1992 ReedFax was launched providing services to corporate legal departments, law firms and patent practitioners by delivering copies of U.S. and foreign patent & trademark documents. These services provided support for research, intellectual property litigations as well as helping customers applying for patents. Continuing to build upon an electronic library of patents and with the capabilities to automatically retrieve and fax copies, customers could do their one stop shopping at ReedFax.

In 1991, the Dow Jones average topped 3,000 for the first time. Police brutality is captured on film in California in the case of Rodney Kings arrest. 911 Emergency Number is tested in US northwestern cities. Internet is made available to unrestricted commercial use and the number of computers on the net reaches 1 million. Microsoft releases MS Dos 5.0. Tim Berners-Lee introduces the web browser.

1992 brought us the largest mall in America, Minnesota’s Mall of America is constructed spanning 78 acres. Hurricane Andrew strikes southern Florida causing massive amounts of damage as a Category 5 hurricane. Windows 3.1 is released by Microsoft. Rioting breaks out in Los Angeles following the acquittal of four white police officers accused of beating black motorist Rodney King. The first Nicotine patch is introduced to help stop smoking and DNA Fingerprinting is invented.

The ever popular Beanie Babies are launched in 1993. In technology the first bagless vacuum cleaner is invented and Intel introduces the Pentium Processor.

1994-1996

Big Moment and Big Change

February 15, 1994 was a big moment for ICC as the USPTO officially awarded their longest patent contract of five years to ICC. During the competitive bidding process which took over 3 years of negotiations and challenges ICC had been working under contract extensions with the U.S. Patent Office. ICC’s strategy to invest in additional technical innovations and process improvements resulted in lower prices and played a pivotal role in winning the new contract.

The improvements included migrating to a Microsoft WindowsTM environment, the creation of macros to set subscript/superscript characters in CWU, the introduction of conversion codes for the Official Gazette and a new tracking system. The new tracking system monitored the status of patent processing from beginning to end, allowing the user to quickly identify available workload and problem areas. The system enabled users to make workflow adjustments when needed, provided more effective communication between departments and facilitated the collection of patent statistics.

The Text OCR process was revolutionized as well. Our outdated system used an integrated scanner and OCR processor while the new system used separate scanners and OCR processors. In the integrated version the OCR was performed simultaneously with the scanning, forcing the operator to wait for the entire patent to finish scanning before moving on to another patent. In the new system, the OCR process ran in the background on a separate system allowing the operator to move onto the next patent before the previous patent was finished. The advantage of this investment was evidenced in a huge reduction in processing time. The operator had the ability to scan a 30 page patent in 40 seconds versus the former time of 20 minutes!

Another significant upgrade was the adoption of SGML (Standard Generalized Markup Language) coding. The transition to SGML occurred over several years and aided the USPTO in aligning with the international patent community. SGML provided the means to search data on an international basis and exchange documents through a network with foreign (EPO-European Patent Office & JPO-Japanese Patent Office) patent offices.

Mid-year ICC began the tedious task of installing a composition system to support the conversion of patents into a PostScript file format. As several programmers installed, developed and made modifications to the composition system, several test batches were sent to the USPTO for review and they were highly pleased with ICC’s PostScript outputs. Along with the new composition system a new ‘Composition Department’ was established to support the automated page composition process.

With the new year (1995) came a new name! On Jan. 1, 1995 ICC was officially named Reed Technology and Information Services, Inc. (RTIS) as it became part of the Lexis-Nexis Group shortly after Reed Elsevier acquired Lexis-Nexis.

1994-1996 were busy years for ICC/RTIS! There was a lot happening around the world as well.  In 1994, the English Channel opened joining England to France for the first time. In the US the First Genetically Engineered Tomatoes become available and the use and sale of GM (genetically modified) Foods is approved.  Tonya Harding wins the national Figure Skating championship title but is stripped of her title following an attack on her rival Nancy Kerrigan. Major League Baseball Players Association begin 232 day strike causing 1994 season to be cancelled. Netscape Navigator released, quickly becoming market leader for browsing the web. Java programming language first released from Sun Microsystems.  Heather Whitestone becomes the first hearing impaired contestant to win the Miss America entitlement and becomes Miss America 1995.

1995 was the year a Car Bomb devastated the Oklahoma City Federal Building on April 19th. JavaScript is seen and used for the first time. Michael Jordan comes out of retirement and rejoins the Chicago Bulls. Federal workers were sent home when there is no money to pay federal workers during a budget deadlock. Dow Jones closes above 5,000 for the first time. Windows 95 is released by Microsoft . EBay started the online auction and shopping website, where people buy and sell goods and services worldwide. Toy Story is the first ever wholly computer generated film.

1996 was the year Prince Charles and Diana, Princess of Wales get divorced. DVD’s are launched in Japan and the number of users on the Internet exceeds 10 million. It is also the first ever cloning of a mammal, Dolly the sheep. Major League Soccer has its first season. Nintendo releases their newest gaming system the Nintendo 64 or N64 in Japan. The U.S. stock markets, including the Dow Jones Industrial Average, gain at an incredibly fast pace and ends the year over the 6,000 mark. The summer Olympics are held in Atlanta, GA.

1997-1999

All Things New

Have you ever wondered about the meaning of the terms LAN and WAN? LAN (Local Area Network) is a network that connects computers in small physical area while a WAN (Wide Area Network) connects computers across multiple geographic locations. Throughout our early history, RTIS operated in a LAN environment but that all changed in 1997 when RTIS installed a T1 circuit between Alexandria, Va and Horsham, Pa. to allow data to be transmitted between both areas. This connectivity improved communication and enabled various activities to be addressed at a quicker pace.

RTIS’s commitment to producing high quality products was intensified by implementing a certified quality management system. In 1998 we obtained our first ISO (International Organization for Standardization) 9002 certification. There were many benefits to becoming ISO compliant such as demonstrating to our customer that we valued their work and were committed to meeting and exceeding their expectations. Consistent procedures ensured that we were efficient but at the same time we had a mantra to make continuous improvements to our processes. Although we had a strong foundation as a company, obtaining this ISO certification solidified our role as a leader in our business and showed the USPTO that they made the right decision.

As we approached the end of the 90s there were several radical changes coming our way. The USPTO awarded RTIS a new Patent Data Capture Contract which kicked off in January 1999 and extended through December 2003. This contract introduced the concept of IDC (Initial Data Capturing) and FDC (Final Data Capturing) capturing patent data at two separate times in the cycle, reducing the publishing time from 24 weeks to 14 weeks. A 3 month transition phase was put in motion to process applications the old way while ramping up the new way each week. RTIS went from housing 18,000 patents to over 50,000 patents. Our employees met the challenge as personnel and departments were realigned, building space was restructured and procedures were defined.

On November 29, 1999 the “American Inventors Protection Act of 1999” (AIPA) was signed into law. One key provision of the AIPA which went into effect in November 2000 required the USPTO to publish patent applications within 18 months of the filing date. This law presented a significant change to the USPTO and resulted in the emergence of Pre-Grant processing.

Where does the time go? After a time span of 8 years and 9 months from the 5 millionth patent, the 6th millionth patent issued! This was a 38% improvement on publishing time from the previous million. On Dec. 7, 1999 U.S. Pat. No. 6,000,000 was granted to Jeffrey C. Hawkins and Michael Albanese both from California. Their patent titled “Extendible Method and Apparatus for Synchronizing Multiple Files on Two Different Computer Systems” introduced an easy to use extendible file synchronization system that was activated by a single button press to share information between a handheld computer system and a personal computer system.

Where does the time go? After a time span of 8 years and 9 months from the 5 millionth patent, the 6th millionth patent issued! This was a 38% improvement on publishing time from the previous million. On Dec. 7, 1999 U.S. Pat. No. 6,000,000 was granted to Jeffrey C. Hawkins and Michael Albanese both from California. Their patent titled “Extendible Method and Apparatus for Synchronizing Multiple Files on Two Different Computer Systems” introduced an easy to use extendible file synchronization system that was activated by a single button press to share information between a handheld computer system and a personal computer system.

So much change in the 90s, tech was on fire, and would change so much of how we worked, how we communicated, everything! In February 1997, the Dow Jones Industrial Average closes above 7,000 for the first time. In July it goes over 8,000. In October it falls to 7, 161.15 due to a global economic scare. 1997 was the inaugural season of the WNBA. Www.google.com is registered by Google. Madeleine Albright becomes the first female in United States history to become Secretary of State. Tiger Woods becomes the youngest golfer to win the Master’s. The Simpsons becomes the longest-running prime time animated series.

The search engine Google is incorporated as a private company in Menlo Park, California by Larry Page and Sergey Brin in September. Page and Brin were still Ph.D students at Stanford University and had previously created the website as a research project starting in 1996. The company grew rapidly and received investments early on from the co-founder of Sun Microsystems and the founder of Amazon. It was successful due to its unique algorithm that calculated a website’s relevance to a search by analyzing links back to the site rather than connections to the search terms, producing higher quality results. Windows 98 is released by Microsoft. Apple computer unveils the iMac.

In 1999, the USA women’s soccer team won the FIFA Women’s World Cup against China. SpongeBob Squarepants debuted. We are introduced to the comedy of Seth MacFarlane when Family Guy debuts. 1999 was also the year of the Columbine High School Massacre. The Roth IRA is introduced. The Dow Jones closes above 11,000 for the first time. Windows 98 (second edition). John F. Kennedy Junior’s plane crashes off the coast of Martha’s Vineyard killing him and his wife Carolyn, and her sister Lauren Bessette. The first version of MSN Messenger is released by Microsoft. The Recording Industry Association of America files a lawsuit against Napster, the file sharing client alleging copyright infringement.

2000-2002

New Century, New Electronic Environment

As we closed out the 20th century with 31 years of outstanding performance in patent processing and entered the 21st century there was still lots to do.

The IDC Editing department started in January 2000 and RTIS was awarded the Pre-Grant Publishing contract by the USPTO. While IDC Editing processed 3,100 utilities and several SIRs each week many meetings were held between RTIS and USPTO to evaluate the new contract’s statement of work to define and create an effective paperless workflow. In addition, internally RTIS worked on plans to establish a process and bring on personnel to create Pre-Grant department.

For the first time in RTIS history, two File Maintenance Facility (FMF) departments worked on-site at the USPTO – the 85B Scanning department and the Certificate of Correction (C of C) department. By working on-site in closer proximity with the Patent Office, communications and quick resolutions were valuable in meeting expectations. In the 85b scanning department, our knowledge and expertise supported the USPTO in capturing each patent application’s fee payment electronically as the files move closer to becoming a granted patent. In the C of C process, applicants are given the opportunity to correct mistakes in their granted patent by submitting a request to receive a ‘Certificate of Correction’. Correctable mistakes are classified as typographical or clerical errors that were made in good faith. Major changes that involve new matter which require examination by the USPTO are not accepted as part of the C of C process.

RTIS’s concept and rollout of Pre-Grant Publications became a reality by the end of 2000. This was just in time as Pre-Grant received their first delivery of patent applications from the USPTO in January 2001. Patent applications were received electronically which required internal software tools to be developed. An electronic workflow utilizing Integic Corporation’s ePower software was also implemented. Everyone’s hard work paid off as Pre-Grant delivered their first set of patents in XML format to the USPTO in March with expectations to exceed 1,000 patents per week in April and ramp up to 2,600 by December. The USPTO forecasted approximately 160,000 patents in 2002.

In an effort to keep pace with the expanding patent application volumes in 2002, Pre-Grant expanded their workforce to include multiple subcontractors. RTIS researched several interested companies to ensure they possessed the technical capabilities and the means to understand our processes in order to produce high quality work within the required timeframes. Several Pre-Grant subcontractors were selected to produce the specification piece of the application. Pre-Grant moved into unchartered territory by sending CWU tables to be processed by additional subcontractors. Having these subcontractors on board aided RTIS in leaping forward to meet the weekly publication build requirements.

Following in PreGrant’s footsteps, the Grant process made history by developing the Electronic Official Gazette (eOG) for the USPTO after 230 years of the Official Gazette being produced in a paper format. A portable document format (PDF) was the initial eOG format; however, an XML version was created to provide compatibility with any Windows or Unix operating system. This accomplishment changed the way the USPTO distributed their information to the world.

Y2K, who remembers the fear of what would happen because the clocks on computers were not programmed to go to 2000. They blamed it on memory being prohibitively expensive. Back then, a year was designated as two digits instead of four, so the stroke of midnight would come and computers would register a date of 1/1/00, assuming 1900. At the peak of the dot-com bubble, the Dow Jones Industrial Average closes at 11722.98 in January. Microsoft released Windows 2000. In April Unemployment was at 3.8%, its lowest since December 1969. 2000 was the year of the re-count in the state of Florida in the presidential election (Bush vs Gore).

2001 would be the year that terrorists attack the United States by flying planes into the World Trade Center/Twin Towers in NYC, the Pentagon in Arlington County, VA and crashing a fourth plane in a field in Somerset County, PA on September 11th. 911 is now called Patriot Day in memory of the people killed in the attacks. In 2001, Apple also released iTunes and the iPod. Napster is closed down by court order. Microsoft releases Windows XP. Legendary race car driver Dale Earnhardt died in a last-lap crash during the Daytona 500.

2002 former president Jimmy Carter is awarded the Nobel Peace Prize. The dot-com bubble bursts and the Down Jones Industrial Average drops below 7, 200. The department of Homeland Security is created.

2003-2005

On the Move

The USPTO is on the move. In 2003 the USPTO began to move their headquarters to Dulany Street Alexandria, Virginia from Crystal City, Arlington, Virginia. The relocation of approximately 7,000 employees who worked across 18 buildings was no easy task and it took until July 2005 to complete. Their new location consists of 5 individual buildings and two parking garages within the complex. Also included in their new location is the ‘The National Inventors Hall of Fame’ which exhibits various inventors and their greatest achievements in the progress of technology, science, industry and the arts.

Accelerating the back end of the Grant production process (FDC) to exceed USPTO expectations called for ingenuity. The concept was to move as much work as possible to the IDC stage so that once the issue fee was paid, patents would move quickly through the FDC stage to issuance.  Realizing ~90% of original drawings submitted by the applicant do not change throughout the examining process, the IDC Drawings Department was established and began scanning only formal drawings in January 2004. Shortly afterwards the IDC Copy Inspection Department was established to ensure the quality of the IDC data. Any discrepancies were marked accordingly and returned to the applicable area for correction.

As we had built a reputation for quality, dependability and flexibility, in August 2004 RTIS was awarded a seven year contract by the USPTO for continued Patent Data Capture services. The contract which began on January 1, 2005 also included three performance-based incentive years that would ultimately extend the contract to ten years. Also included was the opportunity to manage the Front End Process (FEP). Based in Virginia, the subcontractor performing FEP duties such as scanning and indexing documents for internal use within the USPTO was transitioned to RTIS management. As the Grant process began to transition to an electronic environment, the File Maintenance Facility (FMF) starts shifting from a paper warehouse environment to a processing center for electronic patent documents. Sights were set for the Grant process to become fully electronic in the summer of 2005. Other successes occurred as it did not take long for Pre-Grant Publishing to produce patent applications at a high level, finishing 2004 by processing and delivering a record high of 7,304 applications in the 12/30/2004 Publication.

It is hard to believe now, but there was a time when not everyone had a cell phone, but most people had a landline. In 2003, the Do Not Call List started providing consumers on with an opportunity to limit telemarketing calls. Armed undercover “sky marshals” are used on Aircraft to prevent terrorist attacks following 9/11. US Interest Rates were at 45 year record low of 1% and the core inflation rate was at a 37 year record low 1.3%.  The Space Shuttle Columbia disintegrated over Texas upon reentry, killing all seven astronauts onboard. The Human Genome Project successfully completed with 99% of the human genome sequenced to 99.99% accuracy. Arnold Schwarzenegger was elected Governor of California. JK Rowling’s fifth Harry Potter book “Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix” was released. Pixar released Finding Nemo. As a result of the early 2000s recession, as well as the jobless recovery that followed, unemployment peaks at 6.3%, the highest since April 1994.

In 2004, The Boston Red Sox won the World Series in baseball for the first time since 1918. Facebook is launched as a social networking site only open to students from Harvard by Mark Zuckerberg with his college roommates and fellow students Eduardo Saverin, Dustin Moskovitz and Chris Hughes. It is expanded first to other colleges in the Boston area and other Ivy League Colleges. The strongest earthquake in 40 years originates from the Indian Ocean close to Indonesia, measuring 9.3 on the Richter Scale. Creating tsunami waves that swept across much of the coastlines of Sri Lanka, India, Bangladesh, the Maldives, Burma, Thailand, Malaysia and Indonesia. At least 290,000 people are confirmed to have died from South Asia to as far as South Africa. Ken Jennings wins over 2.5 million dollars on Jeopardy! The final episode of Friends airs on NBC, drawing an estimated 66 million viewers in North America. Advertisers pay $2 million for 30 second ads.

In 2005, Hurricane Katrina strikes the Louisiana, Mississippi and Alabama coastal areas. Levees separating Lake Pontchartrain from New Orleans, Louisiana were breached by the surge, ultimately flooding roughly 80% of the city of New Orleans and 1600 perished. The video-sharing website “YouTube” was founded. Microsoft releases the Xbox 360 gaming console in North America.

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