The Unified Patent Court is the institution that will unify the management of patent claims across the member States reducing costs and complexity especially for the smaller patent holders.
To manage the workloads that will derive from managing claims and cases coming from many nations and in many different languages they need a set of tools that are extremely efficient and that can be adapted over time to the changing requirements of the stakeholders.
The team in charge of the project, led by Mark Craddock at Newport's branch of the UK Intellectual Property Office, had to create a brand new web site, Case Management System and a Collaboration platform from the ground up and after having consulted several vendors and suppliers they came to the conclusion that only Open Source based platforms would allow them to complete the difficult task at hand without having to invest a very large budget, depend on vendors proprietary platforms and wait for the long delivery plans dictated by large consulting companies.
The result is that, thanks to Open Source based platform, agile management and by working with SMEs (Small/Medium Enterprises) the UK IPO team has been able to deliver the project earlier than planned and under budget to the Unified Patent Court team.
As the UPC is dealing with confidential information exchanged between patent holders, patent lawyers and judges across Europe the respect of confidentiality and privacy is extremely important. This led to the choice of using a hosting environment (some call it Private Cloud) located in Germany to ensure that UPC has full control over the data.
While many Open Source components have been used, to provide solid foundations for the efficient and flexible platform required by UPC, the following are the main integrated projects:
Drupal is probably the most used Content Management System in the Public Sector and it fits perfectly with UPC's needs of flexibility and integration capabilities.
Liferay has been chosen as a framework on which to build the Case Management System which will handle the business processes and workflows.
Alfresco is tightly integrated with the Case Management System to provide a secure documents repository.
Zarafa Collaboration Platform provides secure email, instant messaging, file sharing (with OwnCloud integration) and video conferencing to the platform's users. One of the benefit of being able to host Zarafa on the same infrastructure is that confidential emails between its users never are not sent over the Internet and that IM and video conferencing are peer to peer (data exchanged only between users withou involving a central server) providing high level of security and privacy.
As the mentioned applications are Open Source and natively use Open Standards the integration process has been much easier than with proprietary software and it will allow to deliver Open Data more efficiently as soon as the platform goes live.
This is a great example of how also the Public Sector can create innovation and deliver Digital efficiency with Open Source
City/Location: Brighton - United Kingdom