About Microsoft’s Intellectual
Property Group (IPG)
Microsoft, the tech industry giant, maintains a Corporate, External and Legal Affairs (CELA) organisation of approximately 1,400 employees, spanning 100 cities and 55 countries. The IPG consists of 200 engineers, attorneys, paralegals, program managers, and the operations teams. Over the past five years, Microsoft shifted from filing a high volume of U.S. patents to more foreign filing and began focusing more on the product pipeline for licensing opportunities. As a result, the IPG was conducting more analysis and claim charting, and the tools and processes they were using no longer met their needs.
- CPA Global’s Memotech – delivering best- in-class IP management capabilities and supporting all types of intellectual assets
- Microsoft Power BI – a suite of business analytics tools that connect to hundreds of data sources, simplify data prep and drive ad hoc analysis
- Microsoft Azure Cloud – a cloud computing service for building, testing, deploying, and managing applications and services through a global network of Microsoft-managed data centres
- Achieve higher quality and increased volume of case review through an end-to- end solution
- Reduce costs and ensure the highest levels of security and data privacy
- Realise high data quality through data governance best practices and audit capabilities
- Enable efficient, powerful reporting and deeper analytics (O365, Power BI, SharePoint)
- Improve user satisfaction ratings on tools and process
- IT costs down 70% within three years
- Efficiency up 35% in-house and 25% for the offshore team
- Time to filing for patent applications greatly improved (50%)
- Data integrity now 99.86%
- User satisfaction up 46 points in tools and 42 points in processes within three years
- 100% user adoption
Microsoft’s culture emphasises the importance of always embracing the latest and greatest technology. However, the IP Department found itself using outdated tools that were not meeting their evolving needs, and were expensive to maintain. Before the debut of Memotech, seven different SharePoint sites served different IP work streams, with an invention portal and a reporting platform that were disconnected; building reports took weeks; administrator access to the database soared to 250 people; and data quality was poor. In Microsoft’s annual poll, the IP organisation had a mid-20% approval rating of tools and processes.
The Intellectual Property Group’s (IPG) workload was not going to stop or slow – in fact they were looking at a significant uptick in volume: 10,000 US and 12,000 foreign office actions monthly, plus more analysis work. How could Microsoft reposition its IP function to become a cutting-edge solution?
Through a rigorous RFP and Proof of Concept evaluation, three IP Management System (IPMS) vendors were considered. CPA Global’s Memotech was unanimously selected by representatives across all IP functions (Patents, Trademarks, Copyrights, Acquisitions and Divestitures, Policy teams, and IT). Memotech would serve as the IP hub and Microsoft’s Power BI would become the main source of reporting and analytics. The company chose Azure Cloud to be the home of this new end-to-end system.
During the evaluation process, Memotech met all key requirements and then some. Meeting the group’s requirements while minimising the need for customisations was important in the selection process. Microsoft took the time to review existing IP processes and was able to make workflow improvements rather than create customisations in Memotech to support the old, familiar processes. This was viewed as a critical success factor.
As an existing service provider to Microsoft for more than a decade, CPA Global was already a trusted partner. By selecting Memotech, the existing CPA Global Services Team for filing, docketing, analysis and evidence-of-use work could now work in the same tool, rather than sending data back and forth between different providers. Additional benefits include granting CPA Global resources access to Microsoft’s Memotech instance for one-off projects to avoid distractions to the IPG team. Microsoft has also consolidated their renewals management to CPA Global and utilise the Innography patent analysis tools through CPA Global.
Microsoft employed an agile approach throughout the adoption process, ensuring high engagement from leadership and the project team, and transparency across the organisation. They also used the opportunity to evaluate and redefine primary workflows, leveraging best practices and automation to increase efficiency.
Technology and careful processes provided considerable improvements in efficiency, productivity, security, and responsiveness.
Happy Users after Replacement of Legacy Systems
In an intensely busy and growing IP organisation, smart change management and technology melded effectively to deliver key results.The initial user adoption goal set by Microsoft for Memotech was “two-thirds of the group”. Today it is at an unbeatable 100% – with a high degree of satisfaction.
“When we went live, we really wanted people to use this tool and we were hoping to get two-thirds of the group to use it. But, we’re at 100% user adoption. This is the tool of record, this is what they all use, and they love it.” - Melanie Carmosino Director of IP Operations, Microsoft
Enormous Cost Savings
By validating Microsoft’s expiration dates and their terminal disclaimers, CPA Global found $5.8M of patent renewals and annuities that would have been paid unnecessarily due to expired patents. Just that validation alone saved Microsoft almost $6M.
Significantly Decreased Time to Filing
“Our time to filing for our patent applications has significantly improved. This is especially important as our world shifted from a ‘first- to-invent’ to ‘first-to-file’, so that means you need to file faster. Because our inventions were submitted through one tool, which of course didn’t speak to this tool unless we connected those dots, we really weren’t able to see where things were held up. Now we have cut our time to file by 50%. We’ve gone to an average of 44 days from an invention submission to file whereas before it was near 90 days. So that’s huge for us.” - Melanie Carmosino Director of IP Operations, Microsoft
Increased Security and Data Quality
Today, security provisions necessitate signing in directly through the tool. There are three people with administrative rights system- wide instead of 250. There’s a single portal – a significant difference to the legacy system of seven separate SharePoint sites, a detached reporting platform, and disjointed connections between various work streams. In addition to more reliable system results and cleaned-up data quality in the new system, reporting is reliable, responsive to business needs and far quicker.
One of the benefits of hosting Memotech in Azure is the “Azure IP Advantage”, which provides protection against patent trolls and other security and development risks.
Tools and Processes That Scale
Memotech is modular and highly scalable, allowing Microsoft to add more users, IP records and IP types as needed. Access for third parties, outside counsel and CPA Global IP support specialists is allowed, with thirdparty security settings allowing them to see only the records they have received explicit permission to view, read or write. Memotech can also be integrated with HR databases, e-billing systems, document management systems, and reporting tools, allowing for a holistic view of IP data and costs.
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