Friday, December 21, 2007

Interesting news from Steve Van Dulken at the British Library!

Google has digitized the 1617-1852 Chronological Index for English patents, and have placed it at
It can be searched for within Google: I found it by accident, asking for <"John Bond" and patentee>.
The implications are huge. Using the link above, you can keyword search the entire text, looking for words like Ipswich, chemist, indiarubber and the like. Remote customers simply need to be told the link.
In addition, all the annual supplements seem to have been added as well – to 1869 at least. The source for the work is cited as the Oxford University.
In addition, the same project has indexed a lot of directories, whose advertisements can offer useful data. An example is the 1855 Guide to the Crystal Palace and Park, which can be found at
That book has 11 mentions of the word patentee, all or mostly within advertisements. It, too, was found with the same search given above. In reality, of course, someone would search in Google generally for such information.
Or, you could go to the website for the project,, and enter for example and find over 600 hits. Enjoy !

Monday, December 10, 2007

PATLIB UK AGM / Training Day

The AGM was hosted by the UK IPO at Concept House Newport.

5th December 2007

The Main topic for discussion at the AGM was the recently signed constitution and standards.
Valerie Gray from the EPO was an observer at the meeting and she reminded PATLIBs thinking of submitting a paper for the PATLIB conference in Warsaw 2008 to do so as soon as possible - you should submit your abstracts to Sue Ashpital at the BIPC.
6th December 2007

The UK IPO Training Day started with in-depth sessions on Registered Designs and Trademarks - the run through the UK IPO Trademark Search engine was particularly useful.
In the afternoon the group was treated to a visit to the Central Enquiry Unit where we were shown the state of the art system which helps the unit deal with enquiries from the whole of the UK.
The Training day was finished off with a very interesting talk from the Private Applicants Unit

Tuesday, December 4, 2007

Search Matters Den Haag September 2007

Search Matters: Seminar on Search & Documentation Working Methods The Hague 10-11 Sept 07

This two-day event was attended by four PATLIB UK members – Maria Lampert & Peter Gibbs from BIPC, Chris Brown from Manchester & Ged Doonan from Leeds – along with over two hundred other delegates from all over Europe. It consisted of a series of lectures & workshops covering a wide range of topics from the general to the specific – and of varying degrees of interest to ourselves.

The lectures covered such subjects as the EPO’s classification strategy and how it stores and classifies new information; the importance of non-patent literature in searching; searching freely-available information sources; and the perspective of a user of the European patent system. This latter talk by Werner Frohling of Volvo included some surprisingly basic information on patenting and searching.

The most valuable part of the event was the workshops. Those I attended included “Computer implemented inventions” – a pretty grey area for most people. The EPO is working on clearer guidelines for such inventions in an attempt to clarify the current situation as far as European Patent applications are concerned. It was a useful discussion, much of it focussing (as you’d expect) on “technical effect,” and the workshop overran by some way.

A related topic was the “Internet as a source of prior art.” The internet is obviously a growing source of information and brings its own difficulties for the searcher. On one hand the possibility of a document being accessed on the internet puts it into the public domain, while on the other hand documents frequently do not remain on the internet and dating the disclosure is often not easy.

Some of these discussions also served as a handy reminder of such things as Google’s advanced search interface where stemming and proximity searching is possible to an extent.

There was an awful lot packed into two days and I was brain-dead by the end of it, but it was certainly a worthwhile event.

Ged Doonan