Patent office will offer online access to millions of documents

PTO will post online
the complete text of 2 million patents dating back to 1976, PTO commissioner Bruce Lehman

The Patent and Trademark Office is putting more than 20 million pages of comprehensive
patent and trademark information online.

PTO last month began providing free Web access to trademark text data that was
previously available on the agency’s Cassis CD-ROM products, said Bruce Lehman, PTO

In November, PTO will roll out trademark images and patent text data online; patent
images will be posted online in March, Lehman said.

The electronic database, when fully operational, will include the full text of 2
million patents dating back to 1976, as well as the text and images of 800,000 trademarks
and 300,000 pending registrations from the late 1800s to the present, Lehman said.

Users will be able to print the images at screen resolution for free. Beginning in
March, for a fee, they will also be able to order high-quality copies for electronic
delivery, Lehman said.

Lehman described the database as PTO’s “third digital information wave.”

PTO offered free Internet access to its AIDS patents database in 1994, listing document
images for more than half of the AIDS research-related patents.

The patent agency followed up in 1995 with the posting to its Web site of 20 years
worth of patent bibliographic data and abstracts from more than 2 million patents, Lehman

To keep up with the growing storage requirements, PTO will upgrade its online storage
until it reaches 35 terabytes, said A.K. Borough, PTO deputy chief information officer and
director of technical support services. Storage is now at 27 terabytes, he said.

Over several months, PTO has bought terabytes of RAID Level 5 storage from EMC Corp. of
Hopkinton, Mass., to replace a roomful of fixed-platter optical devices.

The SCSI-attached Symmetrix Enterprise Storage systems, which range in price from
$40,000 for the Symmetrix 5330/3330 to $86,000 for the Symmetrix 5700/3700, consolidate
data storage off the servers.

PTO’s largest server is a 16-processor HP 9000 enterprise system from
Hewlett-Packard Co.

To get trademark text data on the Web, users can go to the Commerce Department’s
Web site at and click on the
trademarks icon. Users then click on the Patent and Trademark Depository Library Program
link, then the Electronic Databases link under the Services section.

“This electronic database is one of the largest Web offerings by a government
agency,” said Commerce Secretary William M. Daley.

“By providing better access to information on intellectual property, innovation
and investment, we are achieving our goal of helping electronic commerce become a stronger
contributor to growth and jobs,” he said.  

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