2011 March 02 - postalnews blog

Archive for March 2nd, 2011

US Postal Service sued for patent infringement

March 2, 2011 — Return Mail, Inc. filed a lawsuit on February 28, 2011,against the federal government alleging that the United States Postal Service is using the company’s patented process for handling undeliverable mail without permission. The lawsuit seeks compensation for unauthorized use of Return Mail’s patent. Covington & Burling LLP attorneys represent Return Mail.

Return Mail, a Birmingham, Alabama, corporation founded in 2000, invented an automated system that processes returned and undeliverable mail. Return Mail’s system provides benefits and costs savings to mailers. For example, it allows mailers to reduce the costs of manual handling and processing of return mail. It also improves the accuracy of the delivery of invoices, thereby increasing revenue for mailers using Return Mail’s system. The United States Patent and Trademark Office awarded Return Mail United States Patent Number 6,826,548 (“ ’548 Patent) for this invention.

Return Mail alleges in its complaint filed in the U.S. Court of Federal Claims that the Postal Service met with Return Mail at least five times to discuss licensing Return Mail’s invention. During those meetings, according to the complaint, the Postal Service learned the details of Return Mail’s invention and ultimately approved a pilot program to use it.

Return Mail invested millions of dollars and spent years developing its innovative and cost-saving system. In its complaint, Return Mail alleges that instead of licensing and paying for the use of Return Mail’s invention, the Postal Service took Return Mail’s invention and used it to create its own address change service called OneCode Address Correction Service (or “OneCode ACS”). The Postal Service projects savings of hundreds of millions of dollars each year from this system — so much that the Postal Service announced that it would offer OneCodeACS to its customers at no charge in most cases. Return Mail’s complaint alleges that the Postal Service’s announcement destroyed Return Mail’s business, forcing it to lay-off most of its employees.

As recounted in the complaint, the Postal Service asked the Patent and Trademark Office to invalidate Return Mail’s ’548 Patent. The PTO, however, rejected the Postal Service’s efforts, and on January 4, 2011, issued a reexamination certificate confirming the validity of Return Mail’s patent.

Return Mail Inc. Provides Return Mail Solutions.

PRC tells NAPUS it’s too soon to review post office closing plans

In a letter to the National Association of Postmasters of the United States (NAPUS), PRC Chair Ruth Goldway has told the PMs that since the USPS hasn’t produced a plan for it’s proposed closing of 2,000 post offices, “it would be premature to open a docket at this time for this matter”. Goldway, however, also told the group that “While the Postal Service has not submitted a request for us to review any plans nor have we seen the updated process, we have had some initial conversations with the Postal Service and believe the Service is making changes in its procedures to accommodate the Commission’s recommendations that were raised in the Hacker Valley case and the station and branch consolidation initiative.” Read the rest of this entry »

Ross: Never mind pension overpayments- get rid of workers

At today’s subcommittee hearing, Congressman Dennis Ross appeared unimpressed by the billions the USPS has overpaid in retirement obligations, and, according to Post & Parcel, said the agency needed to get rid of workers- and not just by attrition or early retirement offers:

Congressman Dennis Ross, the chairman of the subcommittee, said in his opening remarks to the hearing that modifying pre-funding requirements for USPS retiree pension and benefit funds “do not address the long-term systemic problems and solvency issues” the Postal Service faced.He said work force reductions had to be the “primary focus” of the Postal Service, its unions and Congress to improve financial stability. And, noting that negotiations between the Postal Service and its unions were currently underway, he added that in his opinion it was not enough to cut staff numbers by attrition and early retirements.

via Congressmen call for job-cutting priority at USPS | Post & Parcel.

Updated CRS Report: USPS’s Financial Condition- Overview and Issues for Congress

The Congressional Research Service has updated its report “USPS’s Financial Condition- Overview and Issues for Congress”: Read the rest of this entry »

“Pushing the Envelope: The Looming Crisis at USPS” Hearing scheduled for 1:30 EST today

The House Subcommittee on Federal Workforce, U.S. Postal Service and Labor Policy will hold a hearing on what it calls “The Looming Crisis at USPS” at 1:30 EST today. The hearing is to be aired live on C-SPAN3. Archived video will be available at the subcommittee web site.

Here are the prepared statements of the witnesses expected to testify: Read the rest of this entry »