Browse Prior Art Database

Publication Date: 2001-May-01
Document File: 13 page(s) / 65K

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The Prior Art Database

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US 6,157,947: PATENT [+3]


The present invention is a system for and method of providing electronically assisted access to patent file wrappers, placing the file wrapper in the public domain, and capturing the file wrapper contents as they are filed.

This text was extracted from a Microsoft Word 97 document.
This is the abbreviated version, containing approximately 14% of the total text.


Business Background of the Invention

In an increasingly complex world of intellectual property, there is a growing need to develop access solutions for patent information. Current methods for accessing private and public domain patent information often require the initiating parties to manually research patent documentation at the archiving facility.

A variety of informational forms pertaining to a single patent application are kept in a patent file wrapper (file wrapper). Such information includes, but is not limited to a patent application, prior art, rejection forms, and all forms relating to prosecution of the patent application. Currently, file wrappers are kept in a manual format at the issuing patent office.

Companies that are able to improve access processes could provide rapid retrieval of patent information, thus allowing better execution and processing of intellectual property by capturing a significant share of customers who would otherwise continue to perform manual input and retrieval of file wrapper data. In a market that measures its annual revenue in billions of dollars, the company that develops related technology and owns the associated intellectual property stands to reap substantial economic gain.

Problem Solved by the Invention

How to reduce the time to process a patent application?

Processing a patent application is typically a three- to four-year process. Patent offices and other agencies are often occupied for extended periods of time performing related searches for patent applications instead of reviewing and processing patent applications. What is needed is a way to reduce the time to process a patent application.

How to reduce the time involved in patent litigation?

Patent litigation is normally a costly and time intensive process. Parties involved in the litigation process are often required to research multiple file wrappers related to a specific case. Because these file wrappers are in manual formats and are maintained at the archive facility, it is necessary to maintain copies of the file wrappers (at a cost to the patent applicant), and to manually research the information. What is needed is a way to reduce the time involved in patent litigation.

How to prevent physical loss of file wrappers?

Currently, there are numerous file wrappers missing from the archives at the United States Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO) alone; this situation could be a global intellectual property archive issue. Apparently, file wrappers may be issued to a researcher for review, and subsequently are determined to be missing weeks or months later. What is needed is a way to prevent the physical loss of file wrappers.

How to provide better access to patent applications after 18 months?

Currently, patent applications filed with, for example, the USPTO, are required to remain private for an 18-month period. File wrappers, therefore, must also remain private for the same p...