Automation of the IP Admin System at the South African Companies & Intellectual Property Commission (CIPC)

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With this case study, you’ll discover how the organisation utilised Billetterie as a self-service portal to give 30,000+ clients 24×7 access to critical information, processes, and services, whilst being serviced by more than 600+ service respondents (users) through seamlessly created prioritized workflows at the back-end on a multi-tiered service model.

The Companies and Intellectual Property Commission in South Africa were drowning in painfully slow manual processes for administering IP applications.

“We recognized that the status quo was not sustainable,” said Elena Zdravkova, senior manager of the company’s Patent & Design practice. “If we wanted to support our clients in transforming IP rights management and filing, we had to transform our internal IT and business operations.”.

Sword SA was engaged to assist with the digitisation of manual processes and elevate the orgainsation towards cloud-based computing. This allowed the organisation to create an online community of users, empower them with service management features and the ability to drive service-level compliant deliverables.


The Companies and Intellectual Property Commission (CIPC) previously known as Companies and Intellectual Property Rights Office (CIPRO) conducted its intellectual property (IP) registration process fully paper based. IP clients delivered its mandates to CIPC either utilising postal, courier delivery or walk in services to ensure that the office receives its files, correspondence and associated submissions. Based on the IP Act and Regulations, priorities are fundamental in respect of rights administration and citing the gaps in the organisational dynamics the CIPC was in most cases the Achilles heel to efficiency and compliance.

“You could see the problem by looking at metrics like increasing MTTR (mean time to respond), the inadequate means of issuing rights accurately to the respondents was lacking. Our MTTR had risen to enormous proportions and its impact in respect of litigations became unsustainable.” Our executives didn’t have access to real-time metrics, and it was exhausting and time-consuming to try to explain to customers and auditors why a service was impacted and why their priorities were not protected” – Elena Zdravkova.”

The Executive leadership saw sense in the renewal of IP Filing and content management service processes. Such a radical move required a new service automation portal, one that would change the experience around service delivery and foster improvements that would inspire confidence into this important sector

“We were focused on four promises to our customers,” said Elena; “Increasing availability and security, speedy accurate response on filings, transparency, and maturity in the application of the acts and regulations”

Sword SA led the design, configuration and implementation of Billetterie Software for e-filing, functionality and process design which was addressed to world class standards. The implementation included a full-scale enterprise content management, intelligent scanning digital signature feature. All IP domains: patents, trademarks, industrial designs and copyrights were effected.

“The new Platform made it easy to accomplish all the project goals while also making it easy for us to integrate existing tools and data. The value is in a single platform that unifies and streamlines our processes.” – Fred Harlis (Project Manager at Sword SA)”

In a short time-frame, the organisation was able to:
• Achieve an 87 percent user/ customer satisfaction rate
• Free up senior staff to spend less time pushing papers and more time on strategic initiatives
• Address and resolve a substantial portion of nearly 20,000+ backlogged inquiries
• Respond to filing priorities and Rights administration in accordance with international standards, and
• Minimise fraud and corruption significantly to negligible levels