Boliven Patents is now a "professional-grade" fee-based service, according to an e-mail sent yesterday to current members of the Boliven Network. The service was launched in January as a free beta patent search engine with integrated analytical tools, search alerts and data export functions. It now includes more than 60 million patent documents from the US, Europe, Japan, Korea and others. Recently added data includes INPADOC/DOCDB data and US patent assignments.
Current members will have complimentary access for three months, after which they must pay $60 per month on a month-to-month basis. New users will be eligible for a free two-week trial period.
This isn't surprising news, given that Boliven is a private firm with a pretty obvious business plan. But I was hoping that the beta period would last longer or that part of the service would remain available to the public. This development underscores the danger of relying on third-party patent database providers to provide access to public patent information. They can disappear at any moment. Will FreePatentsOnline or be next?