Company: USG Corporation
USG Corporation (“USG”) is a leading global manufacturer and supplier of building materials, including its well-known Sheetrock® brand wallboard products, Durock® cement board products, ceiling tile and suspension systems and many other construction products. The company has 9,000 employees located in 30 countries. USG is a leading innovator for new residential construction, commercial construction, and repair and remodel materials, as well as for products used in certain industrial processes. The company's annual sales are in excess of $3.2 Billion USD.
The global recession brought economic difficulty to most sectors in the global economy, but perhaps nowhere as challenging as the construction industry. Due to the U.S. housing market collapse that started in 2006, USG needed to focus on cost savings, and intellectual property expenses were no exception. Immediate savings needed to be obtained without undermining the company’s worldwide intellectual property protection or harming its relationships with valued domestic law firms and international agents.
Global markets necessitated a global patent filing strategy and USG used a mix of Paris Convention and PCT filing routes into many countries. Relying mostly upon its domestic law firms to manage the company’s international patent prosecution, the expenses for USG’s global patenting program were difficult and time consuming to track and monitor. It also was difficult for the company to continue to streamline its domestic and international patenting procedures and reduce its costs given the staffing limitations imposed by the market downturn.
After a detailed RFP process with multiple potential e-billing providers, USG awarded its IP cost management business to ITIP, choosing both TIPS and ProFile service offerings. ITIP had the best practices as well as the dedicated and specialized resources that USG needed to implement those best practices. TIPS immediately began the process of analyzing USG’s invoices and existing agent practices, as well as making monthly recommendations on additional cost efficiencies and potential expense reductions. ProFile was implemented for first some and then all of USG’s international patent filings.
TIPS' ongoing analysis of agent invoices verified that ProFile was delivering the savings it demonstrated prior to being awarded the business. Within one year of the initial implementation, USG expanded the ProFile service to handle all of USG's Paris Convention and PCT filings. ProFile was able to deliver over 50% cost savings vs. USG’s existing agent charges. In addition, TIPS continues to provide ongoing monthly cost management analysis, a wide variety of monthly and custom cost management reports, numerous recommendations and actual solutions for driving efficiency and transparency into USG’s existing patent process. TIPS has also provided ongoing auditing of IP invoices, and constant correspondence with agents on behalf of USG, seeking compliance with policies that were implemented by USG with TIPS’ assistance. Substantial cost savings have been recorded by USG due to TIPS services.