PRC lands $40 million PTO pact

The Patent and Trademark Office unseated incumbent contractor Science Applications International Corp. and awarded to Litton/PRC Inc. a contract valued at $40 million to provide the agency with engineering and support services.

PRC won the five-year Systems Engineering/Technical Assistance (SETA) II contract late last week after surviving a down-select that left the company and SAIC which won the original SETA contract in 1993 in the running. Booz-Allen & Hamilton Inc. and Northrop Grumman Corp. were the other bidders.

Under the follow-on contract PRC will help design and build the PTO technical infrastructure - made up of hardware system software and communications equipment - that will change and grow significantly during the next few years to support an increasing workload.

The agency estimates that by 2000 more than 250 000 patent applications - up from 192 000 now - and more than 210 000 trademark applications - up from 173 000 - will be submitted annually.

"We've now got a separate contract to build the [SETA] infrastructure and a separate contract to build the applications called the System Development and Maintenance (SDM) contract " which was awarded earlier this year to Computer Sciences Corp. and Lockheed Martin Corp. according to a PTO official who asked not to be named. "The SETA contract is significant because we are entering into a global workplace where we are now allowing more access in and out [of the agency] via the Internet. This project will help us connect PTO to the rest of the world."

PRC will have more involvement in building PTO's infrastructure under this follow-on contract now that the agency has restructured its IT policy to keep program-related work together to ensure standardization. The win is a "strategic" one for PRC which lost its bid for the $541 million SDM contract said Don Upson vice president of strategic programs at Litton/PRC.

"We wanted to stay the premier contractor in the Department of Commerce. Our pricing and performance helped us win that " he said. "We're glad to be back where we can offer [our services] to the agency."

PRC also held the Automated Patent System contract which was folded into SDM. PTO said it chose PRC because that company provided the best value to the agency. Industry sources said the company's bid was around $10 million lower than SAIC's bid.

Other criteria used for selection included past performance management plans small-business involvement and sample tasks. PRC's teammates include Seta Corp. The Centech Group The Owens Group Inc. SphereCom Enterprises Inc. SystemSoft and Sytel Inc.

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