USPTO Sets Benchmark with Work-at-Home Program


Overview

The U.S. Patent and Trademark Office is an agency under the United States Department of Commerce. Its primary focus is on issuance of patents to inventors and businesses for inventions and trademark registration for product and intellectual property. Wymond supported the agency under System Engineering Technology Assistance III (SETA III) via General Dynamics IT.

Business Opportunity

To improve the efficiency and management of the USPTO’s high-profile Work-at-Home and Telework initiative, while improving the reliability and security of the systems – without interrupting the availability of the current systems for USPTO employees.

Furthermore, Wymond needed to implement new technology that had been purchased by the agency, independent of its current infrastructure.

In addition to solving software and hardware incompatibility issues, the contract scope encompassed a variety of network and infrastructure improvements, including the Public Key Infrastructure (PKI) and Certification and Accreditation (C&A) process.

Solution

Wymond brought its highly skilled personnel to conduct an in-depth analysis of the environment and upgraded USPTO architecture for testing, development and production of new environments.

Furthermore, Wymond staffed a Security Operation Center (SOC) to monitor system availability and network intrusion, creating a real-time notification system to alert technical staff of outages and security breaches, integrating with HP-Openview to provide a visual representation of the SOC.

This secure environment allowed Wymond to approach all USPTO problems within tight timeframes without interrupting service to employees or vendors.

To improve the efficiency of the Work-at-Home and Telework programs, Wymond:

  • Set up a lab and related testing activities for the telework infrastructure, including a Citrix-based solution and laptop tele-office suite
  • Assisted in the expansion of hoteling stations
  • Processed reservations, including check-ins, check-outs and cancellations
  • Provided support for the Patent Examiner Laptop Program (PMPT)
  • Installed and configured NETIQ  and BMC Patrol software to ensure production thresholds and availability
  • Secured Enterprise Remote Access (ERA)
  • Integrated Enterprise Directory Services (EDS) with Lightweight Directory Access Protocol (LDAP) authentication and Electronic Adjudication Management System (EAMS)
  • Assisted in technology refreshes and server/hardware consolidation efforts

Benefits

As a result of the telework overhaul, the USPTO is now able to recruit and maintain its workforce without paying for additional office space, as well as track the progress and productivity of its telework employees.

According to an April 2007 article in Federal Computer Week, the telework program is “one of the shining stars in the federal telework arena,” with the program director for NoCommute.org saying that the success of the project was due in large part to the “highly structured approach to teleworking.”

At the time of publishing, the article noted that about 500 patent examiners teleworked four days a week, using hoteling spaces on the days they did come into the office. By 2012, the hope was to have 3,000 examiners teleworking.

The USPTO has also noted the benefits of the program, stating an improvement in the quality of life for employees, employee retention and a significant reduction in emissions from employees who might have otherwise driven to work.

The USPTO has received multiple awards for its Work-at-Home program, including the 2007 Work-Life Excellence Award from the Alliance for Work-Life Progress.

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