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By GCN Staff

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Patent office seeks (free) help making massive database accessible

The Patent and Trademark Office is looking for a contractor who can make the agency's patent data accessible to the public, meet the data dissemination schedule and help USPTO fulfill its obligations for open government and transparency — at no cost to the agency or the public.

According to the solicitation, USPTO would define the structure of the data — the XML schemas, stylesheets and components, and the contractor would create a public Patent Application Information Retrieval (PAIR) dataset that included not just information on the patents, but on the patents' application status that would be updated daily.

The contractor would then host the datasets and provide that information to both the agency and the public. The USPTO solicitation estimates that the contractor’s data hardware and software would have to support the dissemination of more than 500,000 files — or 500-plus gigabytes — per day.

Additionally, the patent agency expects the contractor to work on "categorization and standardization of the data" to speed transmission, as well as to provide for retrieval and distribution of the bulk data in unaltered from, except for changes necessary for security and ease of distribution.

In lieu of payment, USPTO would grant the contractor the option to broaden, repackage, distribute or sell the enhanced datasets and retain the fees from those sales.

Posted by GCN Staff on Dec 21, 2012 at 9:39 AM


Reader Comments

Wed, Jan 2, 2013 Earth

I am sorry but is this wise given the present climate of patent litigation by the likes of Apple, Samsung, Microsoft etc… If the contractor can swing a deal in which they get paid for being expert witnesses in these court cases they might be able to pay for the constant law suits brought against them.
Let’s say they sell this database, what is to keep someone from altering it and then claiming the contractor is liable for someone’s loss because the data was wrong. Selling copies of a constantly evolving database that is the subject of billion dollar law suit judgments seems highly risky.
How much is the contractor going to have to spend protecting the database from every hacker for hire getting paid to alter some patent claim so that it doesn’t cover some infringing technology? The contractors should demand an indemnify and hold harmless agreement from the patent office at the minimum.
Let’s hope the patent office at least restricts the bids to the set of contractors that hold no patents themselves.

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