Yesterday USPTO released its Global Dossier public access system. I blogged about this. In that blog article I listed three design flaws in that system. Today, having had a day to play with the system, I can describe something important that is missing from that system.
Many patent offices around the world offer permalink access to online information about patent applications. By “permalink” I mean a URL that works today and will work tomorrow or a month from now.
USPTO is very weak in the permalink area. Private PAIR, for example, is intentionally designed so that no link that works today will work tomorrow or even a mere hour from now. The same may be said for TESS, the online trademark search system at the USPTO. A few USPTO systems, notably TSDR and the full-text patent database, offer permalinks, although their existence and format is not well documented by the USPTO.
But many patent offices offer permalinks. Here are some exemplary permalinks:
- (EPO) https://register.epo.org/espacenet/application?number=EP13792749
- (AU) http://pericles.ipaustralia.gov.au/ols/auspat/applicationDetails.do?applicationNo=2005246102
- (CA) http://brevets-patents.ic.gc.ca/opic-cipo/cpd/eng/patent/2566358/summary.html
- (KR) http://link.kipris.or.kr/link/main/KPAXML.jsp?APPLNO=1020137014837
- (Patentscope) https://patentscope.wipo.int/search/en/WO2005114159
- (ePCT) https://pct.wipo.int/ePCT/en/private/iaSearch.xhtml?iaNo=PCT/US2009/036433
By “permalink” we mean a link that works today but will also work tomorrow or next week. We mean a link that a user can actually construct. Knowing the document number that is desired, one can slot that document number into the link and the link will work. Each such link is “stateless”, meaning that it is not dependent upon or tied to any previous activity in the web browser.
So what is missing from USPTO’s Global Dossier public access system? What is missing is permalinks like these. When I do a successful search in the USPTO Global Dossier public access system, what should appear on the screen is not only the document information which the system now provides, but also any and all available permalinks.
I obtained most of these exemplary permalinks from WIPO databases. To see some such permalinks, click on this permalink and then click on “national phase”. You will see permalinks to databases at the Australian, Canadian, Chinese and Korean patent offices as well as to EPO. What this means is that for many years now, WIPO has known how to construct permalinks to various patent office databases.
What needs to happen now is that the developers of USPTO’s Global Dossier public access system need to improve the system so that it provides any and all available permalinks for any given patent family. And if the problem is lack of knowledge how to construct the permalinks, I urge the USPTO developers to get in touch with WIPO. I am sure that WIPO would be glad to explain how to construct such permalinks.