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MMD > Archives > January 1997 > 1997.01.11 > 05Prev  Next

Web Site for Patent Search
By IBM, forwarded by Michael Leach

[ The following is extracted from a press release from IBM. ]

Press Release: IBM Launches Comprehensive, Free U.S. Patent Search Web Site

SAN JOSE, Calif., Jan. 9, 1997 -- IBM today launched one of the most comprehensive free World Wide Web services for finding and viewing information contained in more than 2 million U.S. patents issued in the past 26 years.

Leveraging its technical skills in databases, digital libraries and electronic commerce, IBM's Patent Server site at permits anyone with access to the World Wide Web to search and retrieve information free of charge on patents granted since 1971. Searches can be requested by patent number or by keywords in certain patent information categories: title, inventor, assignee, abstract, claims, attorney/agent and patent references.

Full images of nearly 1 million U.S. patents issued since 1987 can also be viewed free of charge. IBM intends to add the images of the 1974-1986 patents during the first few months of 1997.

Using a Web order form, copies of U.S. patents can be easily ordered for a fee from Optipat Inc., with delivery by mail, fax or on CD-ROM.

In time, IBM intends to expand its patent server's capabilities to include searching of the full text of patents, international patent data and links to other patent-information vendors providing additional supplementary services.

Technical details

IBM's Patent Server provides easy access to the information in patents issued by the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office from Jan. 5, 1971 until Dec. 17, 1996. Information and images of newly issued patents will be regularly added to the database. The server supports simple searching by keyword, phrase or patent number as well as more advanced searching using boolean operators (AND, OR, NOT).

Within any patent, references made to other U.S. patents are hyperlinked, allowing users to locate and view the "prior-art" by simply clicking on the cited patents. These links are bi-directional and use IBM's DB2 relational database to permit easy access to later patents that reference the document being viewed.

In addition, IBM's Patent Server includes information on patents that have lapsed and entered the public domain before reaching their maximum lifetime because their required maintenance fees had not been paid. (Such fees are due on the fourth, eighth and twelfth anniversaries of a patent's issue date.)

IBM's Patent Server Web site uses many open-system technologies. When all of the images are loaded into the system, some 1.2 trillion bytes of patent data will reside on about 2,800 CD-ROMs made by Optipat from the official public information files of the U.S. Patent & Trademark Office. (The information available today -- including images of patents issued since 1987 -- are on about 1,300 CD-ROMs.) The CD-ROMs are accessed by using multiple jukebox-like optical-disk library units from Pioneer. The searchable data are contained in a DB2 database running on RS/6000 computers in an AIX environment. Searches are done by IBM's DB2 and Vertiy's Topic search engines. The World Wide Web queries are managed by IBM RS/6000 SP supercomputers. The selected content is delivered to users via IBM's Advantis network.

The IBM home page can be found on the Internet at:
                                     * * * Note: IBM is a registered trademark of the International Business Machines Corp.

(Message sent Fri 10 Jan 1997, 17:15:01 GMT, from time zone GMT-0500.)

Key Words in Subject:  Patent, Search, Site, Web

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