Monday, January 23, 2006

U.S. Patent Counts, Jan. 1-Jan 21

In the first three weeks of 2006 the USPTO published 15,973 applications and issued 7,315 patents. This is a drop of about 2,000 patents from the same period a year ago. The number of published applications in the first three weeks of 2005 was 15,830. Based on preliminary data from the USPTO web site.

Vatican to Publishers: Papal Writings Owed Royalties

According to a recent article in the London Times, the Vatican has implemented a new, strict copyright policy on the writings of Pope Benedict XVI and his predecessors going back fifty years. This includes the writings of John Paul II, John Paul I, Paul VI and John XXIII. Official copyrights on all papal documents will be assigned to the Vatican publishing house, the Libreria Editrice Vaticana. Publishers who wish to republish papal writings will be asked to pay a 3-5 percent copyright fee. Those who infringe papal copyrights face a 15 percent fee.

Vatican Cashes In by Putting Price on the Pope's Copyright
, The Times, Jan. 23.

Sunday, January 22, 2006

USPTO Warns Inventors About ID Theft

According to an article in the Washington Times on Jan. 20, the USPTO is warning inventors not to put sensitive information such as Social Security and bank account numbers on patent applications and related documents, lest it be used to commit identity fraud. Each week thousands of patent application files become available to the public on the USPTO web site. (Applications are published 18 months after the earliest filing date or when a patent issues.) The USPTO implemented a new policy on Oct. 1, 2005 by which it reserved the right to remove such information if inventors include it. An agency spokesman said that there were no known cases of inventor identity theft.

This is not the first time that the dissemination of patent information has been linked to potential inventor fraud. It's interesting to note that in March 1874, just a few years after the Patent Office began publishing a weekly gazette containing abstracts (and inventor information) of newly issued patents, the Scientific American reported that inventors were receiving unsolicited letters from companies offering large sums to purchase their inventions provided they send a small sum ($5) to pay for an evaluation of their patent rights. Of course, few inventors received replies after sending in their money.
Copies of the gazette were distributed to public libraries and private subscribers nationwide. Did this make it easier for unscrupulous patent agents and swindlers to contact potential victims?

Inventors Warned of ID Theft, Washington Times, Jan. 20, 2006

Tuesday, January 17, 2006

New USPTO Class Order: Design Classes D9, D23, D32

The USPTO has released Classification Order 1853, covering classification changes to design classes:

D9 - Packages and containers for goods
D23 - Environmental heating and cooling; fluid handling and sanitary equipment
D32 - Washing, clearning, or drying machine

The classification order includes new schedules, established and abolished subclasses, definition changes and changes to the USPC--Locarno Classification Concordance. The Lorcano Classification is the international classification system for industrial designs. It is administered by the World Intellectual Property Organization and used by 43 countries.

Friday, January 13, 2006

New Nanotechnology Classifications

The EPO has announced a new ECLA section, Y01N, for nanotechnology-related patents. The new section has not yet been added to the esp@cenet classification search, but the schedule is available on the espacenet online forum and Y01N codes are searchable in esp@cenet.

Last year the USPTO also published a cross-reference art class for nanotechnology called Class 977.

Wednesday, January 11, 2006

EPO 2005 Far East Meets West: Patent Information from Japan and the Far East

Presentations and other materials from the EPO's 2005 Far East Meets West: Patent Information from Japan and the Far East conference is now available on the EPO's web site.

Topics include searching Japanese, Chinese and Korean patent documents, implementation of IPC8, patent information systems, patent law updates and legal status research.

Monday, January 09, 2006

EPO Implements IPC8

The EPO has published new guideliness for searching IPC codes under IPC8, which went into force on Jan. 1. IPC8 is divided into "Core" and "Advanced" levels. The Core level will be updated every three years; the Advanced level is a dynamic system that will be continuously updated every three months or less. There are also new rules governing the assignment of IPC8 codes to invention and non-invention information disclosed in an application.

The EPO has made it possible to search IPC8 codes in esp@cenet using the following options:
  • ci: selects IPC Core Invention
  • cn: selects IPC Core Non Invention
  • ai: selects IPC Advanced Invention
  • an: selects IPC Advanced Non Invention
  • c: selects IPC Core
  • a: selects IPC Advanced

RSS Feeds Make Patent Watching a Breeze

If you're a patent news hound like me, you`re probably in the habit of visiting 3-6 patent office web sites a week looking for the latest official press releases, notices and announcements. Of course, all of that clicking and typing gets old fast. Fortunately, some innovative patent information professionals and attorneys are using RSS technology to streamline the process of reading patent office news.

Two of my favourite patent RSS sites are IPNewsFlash and Rethink(IP). IPNewsflash provides feeds of official notices from the USPTO, JPO, EPO, WIPO, UK, German Patent Office and the Office for Harmonization in the Internal Market (OHIM), the EU agency that administers the Community Trade Mark and Community Design programs. Rethink(IP), a service created by patent attorneys Stephen Nipper, J. Matthew Buchanan and Douglas Sorocco, provides feeds for USPTO notices and press releases, and recently filed patent lawsuits.

The USPTO has been publishing a weekly gazette of abstracts of newly issued patents since 1872. In 2002, the USPTO made a great leap backward to 1990 by moving the Official Gazette (OG) from print to CD-ROM format. (To be fair, the USPTO also publishes the most recent 52 weeks of the OG on its web site.) The new version was called eOG:P, a name which combined the worst of the recent Dot Com boom with the federal government`s love of mind-bending acronyms.

Fortunately, two patent information services, Paterra, Inc. and FreePatentsOnline, now provide RSS feeds of recently issued U.S. patents and published applications. The Paterra feeds display a list of the most recent titles with publication dates and the name of the principal inventor. FreePatentsOnline gives title and a link to the full text document stored in FPO`s online database. Both services are free.