April 27, 2006

New Hosted Patents Search Offering Introduced on Engineering Village 2™

.: Ei, Engineering Information, has launched its Ei Patents service on the Engineering Village 2 plaftorm. From the 24 April 2006 press release:

New York, N.Y. 24 April 2006 – Engineering Information (Ei) announces the introduction of Ei Patents to the Engineering Village 2 research and discovery platform. Ei Patents provides engineering researchers and scientists with an unmatched level of technical intelligence by utilizing powerful search functions and analytical tools alongside patents and databases of scientific literature. Ei Patents consists of patent applications and grants from the United States Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO) and European Patent Office (EPO).

Ei Patents addresses the need of scientists and engineering researchers to derive scientific and technical knowledge from patent literature. "Patents are a unique content source for technology and competitive intelligence as they often contain scientific information not published elsewhere" said Rafael Sidi, Vice President of Product Development, Engineering Information. "In the hands of engineers and researchers, products providing more meaningful access to patent information can accelerate problem solving, new product development and innovation."

Continue reading "New Hosted Patents Search Offering Introduced on Engineering Village 2™" »

February 28, 2006

Engineering Village 2 Enhancements

.: I'm late getting to this announcement, which is a month old. Check out the "What's New" section of the latest Ei Update, which includes information on the new Ei Patents database, enhancements to the faceted search feature, and improved de-duplication functionality. I've been demonstrating faceted searching in all of the engineering design classes in which I teach library and research skills sessions, and have received positive feedback from students along the way.

From the Ei Update, an excerpt from the news about Ei Patents:

Ei Patents includes bibliographic information from the United Stated Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO) dating from 1790, and the European Patent Office database, Esp@cenet dating from 1978. With Engineering Village 2’s unique analysis tools researchers can view at-a-glance, the Document Types (U.S./E.U. applications and Grants), Inventors, Assignees, Patent Codes with descriptions, Country, Year, and Language, of the patents. Search results are presented in clusters, or Faceted Search Results that allow a quick and straightforward view of leading inventors, technologies, countries, etc. Patent searches can be combined with our engineering databases, Compendex, Inspec, and NTIS, to offer unprecedented coverage of engineering information.

By using the facets, researchers can focus a search on U.S. and/or E.U. patents, discover the leading inventor/s, and even see what companies are leading in patents in a given field. This level of competitive intelligence allows researchers to save time and resources by dedicating their efforts on projects that are unique concepts that may lead to their own patents.

January 17, 2006

The Patent Librarian

.: Brian Gray noted that Michael White, Librarian for Research Services, Engineering and Science Library, Queen's U (Kingston ON), and fellow SLA Engineering Division Advisory Board Member, started a blog called The Patent Librarian in November, 2005. The blog looks good, and features a number of links to critical and useful patent resources.

August 11, 2005 - A Free Patent Retrieval Site

:: As noted on Jay Bhatt's site, is a website that allows for free downloading of patents from the USPTO. More details on the site are available here. I checked for older patents, eventually searching for and finding US Patent 1, so I'm assuming any US patent is available via this service. This site could prove to be a valuable resource for students working on engineering design projects, and is much easier to use than the USPTO site, which requires a .tiff plugin.

June 7, 2005

Forthcoming Engineering Village 2 Upgrades and New Features

:: At a meeting today at the SLA Conference in Toronto, the following upgrades and new features to EV2 were announced for Summer 2005:

  • The "faceted search" function will be added to the Quick and Expert search options
  • EV2 RSS feeds will be pushed out to all EV2 subscribers/customers
  • A new feature, "Blog This Record", will be released; users will be able to select records one at a time, and send each record to their blogs
  • A new patent search function will be launched in EV2, initially covering the Esp@canet and USPTO dbs. Forward and backward patent searching will be available, meaning that searchers can link to publications cited by and citing the patent. Non-patent references will link to records in Compendex, Inspec or NTIS if they exist in any or all of these dbs. If a citing or cited non-patent reference isn't indexed in one of these three dbs, EV2 will try to link to the article using CrossRef.
  • In Fall 2005, the deduplication function, used when cross-db searching in EV2, will be enhanced
  • The Ei Thesaurus will be updated in 2006

May 30, 2005

Patently Silly

:: If you need a break from the daily intensity of work, check out Patently Silly, a web site dedicated to, well, silly patents. Daniel Wright, the editor, writer, publisher and coder, is a NYC-based stand up comedian who was once an engineering major in college, but now "he now prefers to make fun of them." Check the archives for silly patents by category.

April 5, 2005

Patents Missing In Action?

:: Dana Roth posted the following to CHMINF-L, something of concern to all patent searchers, and to those of us who advise our users of the importance of searching patents while doing research:

This from the New Scientist

It might seem that the plethora of free online patent databases that now exist should make it easier to check the relevant patent documents, but Willem Geert Lagemaat (World Patent Information, vol 27, p 27) says this is not so. Univentio, the patent-information company he runs in the Netherlands, has discovered that Espacenet, the European online patent database, is missing 322,000 UK Patent Office documents, plus 186,000 and 17,000 patents respectively from the French and German offices.

Some of the missing documents were granted as recently as 2004. "The online archives have gaps simply because the documents were not scanned, either because they were missing or there was an error digitising them," Lagemaat says.
With many libraries now disposing of at least part of their paper archives to save money, it is no longer possible to guarantee that a paper version of every patent exists. People use the web to do the bulk of their patent research for free and only contact archives for the missing patents. "Such low-volume orders do not cover an archive's expenses," Lagemaat says.

The UK Patent Office says it has "no immediate plans" to dispose of its paper archive and is working with the European Patent Office to extend the electronic archive with scanned images of British patents. But as Lagemaat points out, images are of little use in prior-art searches because the text within them is not searchable.

Dana L. Roth

March 22, 2005

Scirus Indexes Patent Data for 13,000,000 Patents

:: From the Elsevier site, Scirus now includes patent data:

Amsterdam, 22 March 2005 Elsevier today announced that its free science-specific search engine, Scirus, has now indexed 13 million patents. Patents indexed in Scirus include those from the United States Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO), the European Patent Office (EPO), the Japanese Patent Office (JPO) and the Patent Cooperation Treaty (PCT) of the World Intellectual Property Organization (WIPO). By making patents available through its index, Scirus has expanded its service to include new and valuable information sources...

Updates to Previous Entries on Scopus and Patent Downloading

:: Comments were received regarding resources mentioned in previous entries, and I felt the information was important enough to be added to a new post.

  • Regarding the entry, Review of Web of Science (2004 version) and Scopus, Christina Pikas advised that "My colleague, Susan Fingerman, wrote a very detailed review of Scopus for Online magazine (it's put out by Information Today). That magazine is indexed full text in a bunch of the general academic databases like Wilson and Ebsco." Here's the citation: Fingerman, Susan. "SCOPUS: Profusion and Confusion". Online v29 issue 2, 36-38.
  • Regarding the entry, Guide To Downloading Patents on the Internet, Dana Roth wrote to add Patent Fetcher to the list.
My thanks to Christina and Dana for the additional information.

March 18, 2005

Guide to Downloading Patent Copies on the Internet

:: Again via Rafael's site, the Guide to Downloading Patent Copies on the Internet from The Invent Blog. The post was made on 27 September 2004, and was updated on 23 February 2005. Some good information here.

February 18, 2005

Free Patents Online Database

:: From a post on CHMINF-L this morning, Dana Roth reports the following:

This web site has free PDF downloading (instead of having to page through TIFFs like at the US Patent Office). On the initial text display page, click on 'View Patent Images' and then click on 'View as PDF [1.3M]', to get a PDF of the full patent ...

Having the .pdf of the full patent is a bonus. As Dana notes, not having to page through the .tiff files on the USPTO site would save much research time, and also allows for saving the .pdf file to your computer. There is an Expert Search function that uses the same search syntax as the USPTO.

Patents are available from #4,000,000 forward. There is no explanation or reason given on the site as to how they are able to offer access for free.

December 20, 2004

FreshPatents - Track US Patent Applications Before Final Decision is Made

:: Thanks to Rafael Sidi at Elsevier Engineering Information, who sent a note about this interesting site. lists the latest US patent applications each week, in advance of the USPTO decision to grant or deny the patent. Registration is free. Features include:

  • Monitor Keywords: enter up to ten keywords or phrases; digests, or summaries of all matches, will be e-mail on Monday
  • Location: if you are interested in tracking patent applications from Gilsdorf, Luxemborg, or New York City, you can search by location. All data is current from August 2004.
  • Inventor or Agent: If you know the name of an inventor or an agent, you can track his or her patent application submissions.
  • Industry: Track applications by industry, including computer hardware, software, displays/optics/imaging, electronics & electrical, entertainment/recreation, firearms/explosives, food & beverage, industrial tools/resources, medical, health & biology & drug, security/law enforcement, telecommunications/radio, agriculture & animal, apparel, fashion, beauty, accessories, business services, chemistry, chemicals and physics, construction & real estate, energy, engine/transmission, environment & waste management, home & building tools/resources, minerals, metals & materials, packaging & paper, printing & media/publishing, textiles, transportation.
Regarding the Industry tracking, RSS has been implemented in most, if not all, of the subcategories of the subjects listed above. Interested in patents on chemistry of carbon compounds, alloys or metallic compositions, musical instruments, or optical waveguides? Plug the XML feed for each category into your RSS reader, and you're on your way. Kudos to FreshPatents for this implementation; what needs to be done next is to expand the RSS feeds into the other search options, such as location and inventor.

For those whose research and development involves awareness of the work of others in the same or related field(s), this is one way to (try to) stay ahead of the rest of the pack.

September 10, 2004

University Research vs Patents; Commons vs Anti-Commons

:: The following commentary from Bob Buntrock appeared on CHMINF-L on 9 Sept 2004. Many participants in the discussion group have since responded to the posting..

I've commented previously on either or both of these lists on the topic of the "Greening of Academia", viz. the trend towards more extensive patenting and licensing of academic research. My original concerns were more along the line of acquisition -- and costs -- of information in support of the P&L process as opposed to similar activities in support of teaching and research. However, the scope of the discussion is being broadened to challenges to the Research University P&L in general.

A recent Policy Forum paper in Science (Y. Benkler, "Commons-Based Strategies and the Problems of Patents", vol. 305, 1110-1111, Aug. 20, 2004) compares the patent system in general and Commons-based systems. Quotes include "...economic theory is ambivalent about the effects of patents on welfare and innovation. Empirical evidence suggests that patents are important in few industries, mostly pharmaceutical." This trend in criticism parallels that arising in conjunction with the availability of pharmaceuticals, not only in 3rd world countries, but to at least some customers in the US.

I think that discussions of these topics are overdue in a number of forums (fora?) including meetings of ACS, PIUG (Patent Information User Group), etc. Topics to be considered include costs and support of P&L in academia (esp. information access), Commons vs. both copyright/publishing and patents (validity of P&L in academia), and other topics. Within ACS, cooperation of CINF, Div. of Chem and the Law (CHAL), and ACS operating Divisions would seem appropriate.

-- Bob Buntrock
Buntrock Associates, Inc.

July 6, 2004

PTDLA Presentations From ALA

:: From an e-mail from Virginia Baldwin regarding the Patent and Trademark Depository Library Association :

If you were unable to attend the ALA onference that started just as ASEE ended, please look at the PTDLA website to see the excellent presentations made by Don Kelly, Jan Comfort, and Jason Martin in Orlando. The speakers agreed to have their presentations posted so you won't have to miss out completely.

Whether you are new to patent searching, have done some searching, or are
just want more knowledge so you can be of greater assistance to your patrons, each of these presentations will have valuable information and tips for you.

March 7, 2004

Making the Case for Patent Searchers?

:: Howard S Homan, PhD, Information Research & Analysis Section, ExxonMobil Research and Engineering Company, has written a timely and informative article about why good technical searching takes time, and costs money. Most of his work involves patent infringment searching in the petroleum products realm. The article appears in Searcher, v12 n3, March 2004.

    "If you, at the request of a client, glean and filter information from a variety of sources, you are called a searcher. If you search in science and engineering, you are called a technical searcher. This article describes the work of technical searchers. It evolved during my attempts to explain my new job to former colleagues, now clients, during my apprenticeship in technical searching. Most of my current job involves patent infringement searching in the area of petroleum products. For clients, this article explains why searching seems to take so long and cost so much. (The short answer is that searchers haven't been replaced by software, yet. For the long answer, keep reading.) Hopefully, this article will enable clients to make good use of their searchers and help fellow searchers describe their unique profession."

December 18, 2003

NISO Publishes White Paper on Patents and Open Standards

:: The National Information Standards Organization (NISO) has published a white paper on Patents and Open Standards by Priscilla Caplan, Assistant Director of the Florida Center for Library Automation. This white paper is a timely reminder to everyone involved in standards development of the relationship between standards, patents, and the policies of standards development organizations. Originally published as the feature article in the October 2003 issue of Information Standards Quarterly, NISO is making this important information available as a free electronic download from its website:

The paper reviews some patent basics and then considers the following questions:
What is an "open standard"?
What are the policies of other standards setting organizations governing patented contributions to standards?
What are the implications for NISO?

The paper concludes with an update from NISO on their recently adopted Patent Policy. (Via: Cynthia Hodgson at NISO.)