Saturday, 9 January 2010

Too Much Paper - Encourage the UK IPO to stop sending it

The UK IPO is running an informal consultation on its plan to cease sending out copies of patent citations with their search and examination reports. They also plan to follow the EPO and USPTO and stop sending applicants copies of their own publications which are all available on-line on the IPO website .
This seems to be a no-brainer but it would be good if our representative organisations responded.
Not all citations are patent documents and sometimes it can be difficult to find these scientific publications and papers. Google Scholar can be tantalising in pointing you to documents  and abstracts but often the full text is hard to find. I spent part of last week searching for the text of a 1976 document from The US Bureau of Mines. Could I mine it in the UK. No.
 I have also come up against references to data sheets that were on the web when the patent specification was drafted and have since moved or been updated. Both examiner and applicant need to be looking at the same copy.
Accordingly, it seems we need a depository for copies on non-patent pubications that are cited in or cited against patent applications. This could be accessible both by examiners and attorneys to enable documents to be made available to subsequent readers of the patent specification. What do you think? Maybe it could find a place in the Projects of the Five IP Offices

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