By World Intellectual Property Organisation (WIPO)
What is “Patent Information”?
information” is the technical and legal information contained in patent
documents that are published periodically by patent offices. A patent document
includes the full description of how a patented invention works and the claims
which determine the scope of protection as well as details on who patented the
invention, when it was patented and reference to relevant literature. About
two-thirds of the technical information revealed in patents is never published
elsewhere and the entire set of patent documents worldwide includes
approximately 40 million items. This makes patent information the single most
comprehensive collection of classified technological data.
Why is Patent Information Useful for Your SME?
information is useful for SMEs for a number of reasons. Probably the most
important one is that patents are a unique source of technical information which
SMEs may find of great value for their strategic business planning. Most
inventions are disclosed to the public for the first time when the patent (or,
where the law so provides, when the patent application) is published. Thus,
patents provide a means of learning about current research and innovations often
long before the
appear on the market.
information contained in patent documents can provide your SME with important
insights that may be used to:
unnecessary expenses in researching what is already known
evaluate technology for
with the latest technologies in your field of expertise
solutions to technical problems
Get ideas for
From the point
of view of the commercial strategy of your enterprise, patent information would
information contained in patent documents could also be used by SMEs to:
patentability of your own inventions
Oppose grant of
patents wherever they conflict with your own patent
What are the
Advantages of Patent Documents as a Source of
information which is often not divulged in any other form of literature.
They have a
relatively standardized format including an abstract, bibliographic
information, a description of, and in most cases also drawings illustrating
the invention and full details on the applicant.
classified according to technical fields.
examples of industrial applicability of an invention.
practically every field of technology.
Where and how can Patent Information be Obtained?
The emergence of
web-based searchable patent databases has significantly facilitated the access
to, and reduced the costs of, using patent information. Wherever web-based
databases are not available, patent databases may be consulted manually, on
microfilms or CD-ROMs, at the national patent offices, or through commercial
organizations. Sources of patent information include the following:
National patent offices:
technological information services based on patent information are usually
provided in exchange for a fee.
agents/patent attorneys or commercial organizations.
manual searches in patent centers, libraries or national patent offices.
electronic searches through electronic databases or CD-ROMs.