The post-backlog home office
With the expectation of definitively solving the patent backlog problem within two years, the Brazilian Patent and Trademark Office – BPTO is already turning its efforts in the implementation of new projects aimed at operational improvements in the administrative area. The home office, one of the ongoing programs under the coordination of the Director of Administration Júlio César Moreira, former Director of Patents, will transfer the employees allocated at headquarters, among examiners and administrative, to the 11 regionals of the entity in Brazil, and to home work stations.
Studies to put the home office program into practice are advanced, but the change will be implemented in the medium term. The plan is to strengthen regional offices, relieve headquarters and, as a consequence, improve the entity’s productivity. The goal is to transfer 50% of the 900 employees currently allocated at the headquarters in Rio to their home states within a period of up to four years. In the first few rounds, employees will be transferred to the regional ones, but in the next step, the program-selected employees will be able to work from home, with defined goals and work patterns.
According to the Management Director, the home office program will allow a significant reduction in administrative costs and provide greater job satisfaction for the transferred employees, many of them from other states and distant from their families. Initially, the home office program will include examiners, but will later extend to administrative staff. There will be no change in the work regime, as homeworkers will continue as BPTO-bound civil servants. “The plan is to improve working conditions so that employees have peace of mind to work with satisfaction”, says Moreira.
To improve internal procedures, which, among others, will have a favorable impact on the home office implementation, the BPTO is using modern IT tools. The ongoing implementation of Virtual Desktop Infrastructure (VDI) will allow the homeworker to access the entire BPTO system anytime, anywhere. Another novelty is the unified communication program. Communication between the examiner and the applicant for a patent or trademark, usually made by fixed telephony, shall be through computers with audio and video systems, which will allow the user to answer questions in real-time.
The BPTO has also entered into a technical cooperation agreement with the Chemical Abstracts Service (CAS), a division of the American Chemical Society, to accelerate the search for trademarks and patents through artificial intelligence.