Friday, April 16, 2010

Reporting Data Errors in Patent Databases

Kudos to esp@cenet for providing an easy and convenient way for users to report data errors. Each record includes a link to an error reporting form; all you have to do is click and fill in a few lines. This week I reported my first error (an incorrect application number and date) and within two days the record was updated.

Why don't more patent offices do this? Patent databases are teeming with errors. You'd think they would take advantage of the tens of thousands of users who use their databases every day.

The USPTO provides an e-mail for reporting data errors but it's located on a page outside the database, which means that you have to stop your search, open up a new window, find the page and then compose an e-mail. Very cumbersome.

I wasn't able to find any way to report an error in the WIPO's PatentScope. The CIPO's Canadian Patent Database includes the e-mail and telephone number for the Client Service Centre in each record, but it doesn't make it clear that you can or should report errors.