Wednesday, November 21, 2007

Today (20/11/07) I had the pleasure of attending the awards ceremony at The Lightbox, Woking where the six finalists of the UKIPO “Cracking idea” competition received their awards.

The six regional finalists were;

Midlands and East region – Brampton Villiage Primary School
South West Region – East Allington Primary School
Wales – Glasllwch Primary school
North East region – Marden Bridge Middle School
South East region – Senacre Wood Primary School
North West region – Marden Bridge Middle School

Among the winning ideas was a dog walking machine, a machine for washing windows and bathrooms and a pair of “helpful hands” designed to “do helpful tasks for you whilst you watch TV”

The overall winning idea was “The Waker-Upper 3000” a machine designed to keep you awake no matter how dull or boring the work you are doing, nor how tired you might be! The winning designers, pupils from East Allington Primary School, were presented with an original trophy created by Aardman Animations. Each of the six regional finalists received a laptop computer and other bits and pieces along with a framed certificate.

Before the presentation of the awards Lord Triesman, the Minister for Innovation, spoke of the importance of IP for the future of the country as he marvelled at the quality of the inventions. He went on to remind the children that not only adults can have IP, children do too!

Lawrence Higgins-smith of the UKIPO was reading out a message of apology from Nick Park, who was unable to attend the ceremony, when a knock on a side door heralded the arrival of Wallace and Gromit much to the delight of the children (and some of the adults!) present.

What I think was probably the high point for the young winning designers was learning that the production team from Dr Who had actually made a prototype of their device which the children were kind enough to model for us.

Maria Lampert
British Library

Monday, November 19, 2007

Changes to UKIPO trade mark search

The official British trade marks database at has been revamped. As of today.

The old "beta search" option has now become the default format, so that searches can be for within phrases (so that Manchester United will be picked up by a search for "teruni" as that is within the words).

There is also the possibility of searching by Vienna Classification for e.g. the appearance of a mountain. This can be combined with a word. You click through the boxes, as with the design database, to identify the relevant classes. If the user is uncertain the Classification itself has to be used, at . I don’t think there is a link to it on the site.

Advice is supplied on how to do these things on the right hand side. Useful, if a little limited.

The hitlists include images even if words were asked for (some marks contain both elements).

My only slight quibble is that you have to remember to select Image at the top if you want an image, otherwise it assumes a word search is going on when you select a Vienna class. An error message then appears.


Steve van Dulken
British Library

"FYI - The new revamped database also allows you to 'add' selected trademarks to a 'pick list' along the lines of the 'my patents list' in Espacenet - Maria"

Friday, November 2, 2007

Wellcome Library’s “Free For All” training session

Today I went to the Wellcome Library’s “Free For All” training session on free medical history resources on the web – potential sources to point people with medical history queries that turn up in the patent inbox.

This was mainly a list of recommended sites:

US National Library of Medicine history division, - wide range of online exhibitions, large image collection, a small but increasing collection of digital books, and “Profiles In Science” on prominent figures with digital documents. Also a lot of catalogues to indentify material.

Karolinska Institutet: - Massive list of links to medical history websites and articles, in English. Not easily searchable as you have to read through the pages.

PubMed Central: or – Archive of freely-accessible academic medical articles, including some notable journals digitised back to the 19th and early 20th centuries.

Bibliotheque Interuniversitaire de Medicine, Paris: - French-language website with a huge range of digitised historical texts, including English-language material – look under “Editions electroniques”.

Medhist: – Indexed and searchable web gateway to quality history of medicine resources edited by staff at the Wellcome Library.

Of even more interest is that I discovered that the Wellcome Library has a collection of British patents on medical subjects up to 1906 that can be searched through their online catalogue by applicant, title and patent agent. I’m still trying to find out if they have all medical ones and what the earliest date is – unfortunately the patent years given initially on the catalogue are publication years, so everything’s about a year later than it should be and all the pre-1852 stuff is dated 1853 or 1854 by when it was printed. Have a play around, it’s a free search facility for material that has no other free database. Go to the search by document type at and type patent in the search box, then search within results using the “Limit/Sort” button.

They still won’t copy them, though, for the same reasons as we restrict.


Philip Eagle
BIPC - British Library

Thursday, November 1, 2007

Interview with Wolfgang Pilch of the EPO

You might find this Richard Poynder interview with Wolfgang Pilch interesting