Wednesday, January 28, 2009

Patent Filings Slow Amid Economic Slowdown

The worldwide economic crisis appears to be having an impact on international patent filings. This week the WIPO announced that the number of international patent application filings in 2008 increased by 2.4 percent, a big drop from the 9.3 percent average pver the past several years. However, the number of applications filed was 164,000, an all-time high. The countries with the largest increases were Korea (12%) , China (11.9%) and Sweden (12.5%). The U.S. experienced a 1 percent drop. Australia, Italy, Netherlands, UK also experienced declines. Canada had a very respectable 4.2% increase.

Thursday, January 22, 2009

New Guide to Using Patent Information from WIPO

WIPO recently published a new 44-page guide to using patent information.
The guide explains what a patent is, the information contained in a patent document, where patent information can be found, and how to use basic patent search strategies. Almost half of the guide is devoted to explaining how patent information can be used.
It's a well-written, concise introduction to the benefits of using patent information.

Tuesday, January 20, 2009

Locating Re-examination Certificates

Patent attorney Stephen Nipper recently posted on his blog, The Invent Blog, a question about re-examination numbers. It seems that the USPTO website has some erroneous examples of re-examination document numbers.

In brief, anyone may file a request for a rexamination of a patent on the basis of prior art consisting of patents or other publications. The USPTO will examine the prior art and decided whether some, all or none of the claims of the patent in question should stand. At the end of the review the USPTO issues a re-examination certificate that sets forth the results of re-examination. This certificate is then attached to the original patent.

Re-examination certificates are not indexed in the USPTO's web-based patent database. Instead, users can retrieve a copy of the certificate by retrieving the original patent, e.g. by searching the patent number and clicking on the "Images" button to see the TIFF image. The re-exam certificate is attached after the claims section. (See 3,876,375.)

When a request for re-examination is filed, the USPTO assigns the case a control number preceded by a series code. The series code 90 is used for ex parte re-examination proceedings (90/009,335) and 95 for inter partes proceedings (95/001,115). Since 1981 there have been approximately 9,500 ex parte re-examinations filed. And 500 inter partes re-exams have been requested since November, 1999. The number of requests has nearly doubled in the last decade, increasing from 350 in fiscal year 1998 to 650 in 2008.

It is possible to retrieve re-examination filings in the USPTO's Public PAIR (Patent Application Information Retrieval) System. Simply search the re-examination control number (including the series code, e.g. 90/010334). The file wrapper will contain all the documents and forms involved in the re-examination, including a copy of the patent in question, submitted prior art, e.g. patents and non-patent literature.

Wednesday, January 14, 2009

Promoting IP Awareness - Database of Materials

The WIPO has a new database called IP Outreach in Practice which contains "basic information and links to practical examples of interesting IP outreach initiatives."

It's quite an interesting collection and a great place to look for inspiration and ideas. You can search by category (IP creation, IP use and awareness, IP crime), format (tv program, curriculum material, newsletter, etc.). There's an advanced search for more complicated queries.

WIPO wants to continue building the collection. You can send examples of outreach materials or initiatives to

Friday, January 09, 2009

Browser Toolbar for Patent Info Resources

Patent Pal is a new browser toolbar that links numerous patent information tools and resources. Included are over 30 patent search sites, numerous IP blogs and newsfeeds, patent office websites, manuals, job sites, and much more. Users can customize the toolbar and add their favorite sites. This is a very cool and useful tool... one of the best I've seen in years. Patent Pal can be downloaded from

Thursday, January 01, 2009

Patent Databases: 2008 in Review

Early in 2008 the USPTO installed verification software in its Public PAIR (Patent Application Information Retrieval) system that requires users to enter a two-word code in order to access patent and published application files. This was done in response to repeated bulk downloading by web spiders and automated scripts that severely degraded PAIR's performance.

In September, WIPO announced that the complete file contents of published international applications would be made available through the PATENTSCOPE search system. As of December 30, 2008 only the PCT request form is available. Other types of documents to be added include correspondence, copies of forms and original documents filed by applicants.

In December, WIPO announced that it would suppress inventor and individual applicant address information in PATENSCOPE due to privacy concerns. This will apparently not affect PATENSCOPE searches or RSS search alerts based on inventor address criteria. And address data will still appear on the frontpage of PCT published applications in PDF format.

On January 1, 2009 WIPO implemented three new kind codes (A4, A8 and A9) for republished PCT applications.

EPO esp@cenet
In October, EPO introduced a number of enhancements to the esp@cenet international patent database. These include increasing the number of documents stored in "My List" from 20 to 100; the ability to export data from search results (up to 30 records at a time); date range searching; highlighting search terms; and a single Google-like search box.

IP Australia
In April IP Australia launched a new patent search system called AusPat. Contents include bibliograhic data from 1970 forward and full-text data from about 1998 forward. IP Australia's old system, PatentSearch, will be retired in February 2009.

In September FPO increased the storage of individual accounts to a maximum of 20 portfolios and 10,000 documents. FPO also added a chemical search function. SumoBrain, another fee-based patent search system from the creators of FPO, introduced free individual user accounts.
Launched in September, offers access to full text US utility, reissue and design patents, published applications (including plant patent applications) from 1976 to the present and European patent documents from 1998? forward. Search modes include simple, advanced and expert; about thirty searchable fields. A bulk search option allows users to retrieve multiple patents by number. is the reincarnation of, a patent search site that operated from early 2006 to January 2008.

Google Patents
Google Patents added US published applications but data is about six months behind.