At national office level, ePHOENIX already fully supports the administrative and formal tasks of the European (EP) and Patent Cooperation Treaty (PCT) patent procedures, through filing, search, examination, publication, opposition and appeal. It is this flexibility which allows ePHOENIX to be set up to handle similar procedures in any environment. ePHOENIX completely takes over all the processes formerly used for physical documents and allows existing systems to continue to manage the procedure.
The major functions used are:
ePHOENIX is capable of importing documents that have been:
- scanned using epoScan
- soft-scanned (by intercepting print streams)
- soft-copied (using existing documents and creating modified versions)
- electronically filed using epoline® Online Filing
- provided in electronic form by other offices (eg from another ePHOENIX system)
All documents are stored on disk so that all information is available online.
As part of the scanning process CD-Rs are generated, and these can be used for long-term backup. Logically, the documents and data are stored in the Document Archive (jPXI) and Dossier Management System (jDMS).
Based on data introduced when a document is acquired, eg the dossier or file number and/or a document code, the system automatically creates and, according to a flexible set of rules, delivers a message to the mailbox of the team or team member who will deal with the new document.
To simplify navigation through large numbers of documents jDMS creates a Table of Contents (ToC) for every dossier and collections or sub-dossiers within it. Users are able to retrieve documents by selecting an item in the list. Any new documents for action are retrieved automatically.
The documents can be viewed on screen using a powerful viewer. All documents are available at sub-second rates through intelligent caching mechanisms.
Extensive print options are offered: printing complete dossiers or specific parts only; printing with or without annotations; printing single- or double-sided; and printing on distributed or local printers. Using “overlays”, users can create new or modified documents. Different information and control sheets can also be created for printing with the documents.
External systems or organisations may be provided with certain documents from ePHOENIX. Other IP offices may request certain documents, or documents may be extracted for further processing outside the system, eg for publication. These documents are requested from jPXI together with data from the jDMS. All the data is put into output queues (or written onto CD-Rs/DVDs) for collection by the requesting party. Again, the rules regarding which documents to export, in which format and to which medium are highly flexible.
Because ePHOENIX will normally be used in environments with existing IT services (such as systems for managing security, business procedures, bibliographic data, publication, etc.), interfaces are provided to allow these services to be used with minimal modification.
These interfaces are available in four key areas:
- Display of bibliographic data from legacy systems in the GUI through so-called “status screens”
- Logon/security/authentication mechanisms
- Distribution, where external algorithms may determine the mailbox to which messages should be sent
- In the presentation framework, where an implementing office can develop and plug in its own Java applications