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Annual Technical Report 2009 on Patent Information Activities submitted by United States of America (CWS/ATR/PI/2009/US)

Where URLs are requested below, it is preferred that either URLs which are likely to remain stable over time (three years or more) are provided, or home (main) page URLs are provided with a short explanation of how to access the corresponding information.

The term "patent" covers utility models and Supplementary Protection Certificates (SPCs). Offices which issue design patents should report their design patent information activities in their Annual Technical Reports on Industrial Design Information Activities.

I. Evolution of patent activities

Changes experienced in terms of application filings and grants with respect to the previous year

In calendar year (CY) 2009, the United States Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO) granted 167,349 utility patents, up 6 percent from the number granted in CY 2008. The share of grants having foreign origin, as determined by the residence of the first-named inventor, is 50.8 percent for CY 2000. This marks the first decline in foreign origin share since 2003.

The top five patenting organizations for CY 2009 are International Business Machines Corporation with 4,887 utility patents, Samsung Electronics Co., Ltd. with 3,592 utility patents, Microsoft Corporation with 2,901 utility patents ,Canon Kabushiki Kaisha with 2,200 utility patents, and Panasonic Corporation with 1,759 utility patents

There were 456,106 non-provisional utility patent applications filed at the USPTO in CY 2009, about the same as the number of filings made in each of the previous two years . The CY 2009 foreign origin share of non-provisional utility patent applications is not yet available. However, for the October 2008 through September 2009 time period, the share of non-provisional utility patent applications having foreign origin, as determined by the residence of the first-named inventor, was 49.6 percent, up from the 49.2 percent share recorded in CY 2008,. Of these foreign origin patent applications, the largest number again originated from Japan, Germany, South Korea, and Taiwan.

Trends or areas experiencing rapid changes with respect to the previous year

In calendar year CY 2009, the following active technology areas showed significant increases in utility patent activity as compared to CY 2008 ’Interactive Video Distribution Systems’ (up 113 percent), ‘Electricity: Battery or Capacitor Charging or Discharging’ (up 104 percent), ‘Photography’ (up 68 percent), ‘Receptacles’ (up 56 percent), ‘Static Structures (e.g., Buildings)’ (up 50 percent), and ‘Data Processing: Database and File Management or Data Structures’ (up 46 percent).

URLs of web pages of the Office’s website that provide statistics related to patents

General calendar year utility patent statistics reports: http://www.uspto.gov/web/offices/ac/ido/oeip/taf/reports.htm
General fiscal year utility patent statistics and USPTO workload statistics, as contained in the text and workload tables of annual USPTO Performance and Accountability Reports: http://www.uspto.gov/about/stratplan/ar/index.jsp
Other USPTO utility patent statistics: http://www.uspto.gov/patents/stats/index.jsp
Trilateral Statistical Reports containing USPTO utility patent statistics may be accessed from the official Trilateral Web Site at: http://www.trilateral.net/tsr/

II. Matters concerning the generation, reproduction, distribution and use of primary and secondary sources of patent information

Publishing, printing, copying (main types of publications of the Office in the field of patent information, etc.)

The USPTO has made a business decision to emphasize online ordering and delivery of information products and services without abandoning the traditional delivery methods that include: paper copies, fulfilling fax and telephone requests, maintaining on campus search facilities, supporting the nationwide network of Patent and Trademark Depository Libraries (PTDLs), and providing information to private companies that are value-added resellers reaching thousands of their own customers.

The USPTO is automatically loading electronic images of the Pre-Grant Publication Notifications and Patent Grant Issue Notifications into the Image File Wrapper. In addition, as these Notifications are outgoing correspondence, the automatic electronic mail notification exists if the customer has elected to participate in the electronic notification program. The office continues to mail conventional paper copies as well.

For its image products of issued Plant Patents, the USPTO has begun the creation and storage of electronic images of the issued plant patent drawings in color on DVD.

Main types of announcements of the Office in the field of patent information

There are no new developments to report for calendar year 2009.

Mass storage media used (paper, microforms, optical storage, etc.)

In 1998, the USPTO established an Internet database with access to the full-text and images of granted patents from 1976 forward, consisting of 2 Terabytes (TB) of full-page images and 120 Gigabytes (GB) of searchable full-text. In 2000, the USPTO acquired an additional 2 TB of storage and added images of all US patents from 1790 through 1975. Presently, almost 4 TB of full-page image data for all patents from 1790 to the present are stored on these devices at the USPTO and accessible from the Internet, along with a 200 GB file consisting of patent numbers and current US classifications for all patents from 1790 through 1975, as well as searchable full-text for all patents from 1976 to the present. In addition, 4.5 TB of storage have been deployed for published patent applications from March 15, 2001 forward. The published patent applications storage meets legislative mandates issued in 1998, in the American Inventor Protection Act (AIPA), which requires the timely granting of patents and the early publication of applications.

Each year the USPTO produces over 200 optical disc masters in the Cassis and USA product lines, containing a wide variety of patent and trademark text and image information. Cassis includes four patent text products, as well as two trademark text products; USA includes two patent image products and one trademark image product. Over 80,000 discs per year are sold to the public or distributed at no charge to the USPTO search facility, PTDLs, the Federal Depository Libraries, and Intellectual Property Offices (IPOs) around the world.

Bulk data products consisting of TIFF image data and XML files are also produced for exchange with other IPOs and for dissemination to commercial customers and the public. The USPTO’s Electronic Information Products Division (EIPD) oversees the creation and distribution of over 250 data files each week. These data files are provided via internet file transfer and Digital Linear Tape to approximately 50 external customers worldwide.
In 2009 the USPTO started making data files available via the United States’ Data.gov website. Data.gov catalogs government-wide data files that are available to the public at no charge.

Word processing and office automation

Office Action Correspondence Subsystem (OACS)-eRF

The Office Action Correspondence Subsystem (OACS) is used by patent examiners and technical support staff to create correspondence for both domestic and international applications. In 2007, OACS was enhanced to include a workflow component that supports collaboration between examiners, supervisors, and support staff, as well as automatic soft scan of correspondence into the Image File Wrapper (IFW). This system is known as the Electronic Red Folder (eRF) and is an integrated file management process that enables electronic beginning-to-end processing of Office Actions. The eRF initiative is part of an ongoing series of efforts at the USPTO to advance the Agency's vision of utilizing industry best practices and information technology to improve operations and further the goal of a paperless virtual environment. The eRF system also supports other Agency initiatives, such as the Patent Hoteling Program (PHP), eOffice Action, and eSignature. Further enhancement of the eRF system is currently in the planning phase that supports new management initiatives for reducing overall patent application pendency.

The eRF system provides the capability to annotate documents in eDAN (such as Information Disclosure Statements), and the capability to append other documents to an OACS Office action, such as NPLs, the Bibliographic Data Sheet from PALM, and Search Histories from EAST and WEST. These documents are created, reviewed, printed (if necessary), indexed and scanned into IFW, and mailed to applicants in a seamless electronic process. By bypassing the need for manual indexing and scanning, the eRF system achieves huge cost savings in addition to providing better oversight, accountability, and time savings for PHP examiners.

The eRF system provides the opportunity to streamline Office Action processing while the Agency develops a new IT infrastructure that will use an up-to-date document management and workflow system.

Patent Application Security System (PASS)

In 2003, PASS was introduced to support initial formalities review of domestic applications (replacing the earlier Patent Application Capture and Review System (PACR)). PASS allows users to view documents that have been scanned into the Image File Wrapper (IFW) and, in conjunction with the PALM system, prepare correspondence related to formalities issues.

PASS also includes the web-based Classification Security Review (CSR) and Licensing and Review System (LARS) modules in support of, respectively, initial classification of new applications according to the US Patent Classification system and all stages of national security review of new applications stored in IFW.

CSR streamlines the initial classification and first-level security review processes into one new user interface. The LARS system provides the images of applications identified during first level security screening to Licensing and Review examiners who perform second-level security review. LARS allows the examiners to clear an application for foreign filing license or refer it to a defense agency for third-level security review. PASS writes applications referred for third-level security review to a CD-R which is subsequently made available to the appropriate agencies. CSR and LARS both use new PALM services which support real time updating of the security or classification status of an application in the PALM database.

PASS also performs the patent application exporting services. PASS extracts IFW images and transmits the content to contractors in support of Early Data Capture (EDC), Pre-Grant Publication (PG-Pub), and Grant and Pre-Grant Classification (PGCLASS). Since February 2007, PASS integrated the initial examination processing of international (PCT) applications and US applications into the same workflow.

PASS4.5 was deployed in December 2007. This release modified the workflow logic to support changes in the business process relating to electronic filing via EFSWeb and outsourcing of classification via PGClass. New features such as the deferring of incomplete applications and automatic reinstatement of deferred applications produced improved throughput, quality and eliminated manual intervention.

PCT Operations Workflow and Electronic Review (POWER)

POWER supports the administrative processing of PCT applications and related documents by the staff of PCT Operations. In October 2006, the USPTO abandoned POIS, a scanning and image storage system that was dedicated solely to international applications, in favor of merging international applications into the same process flow as that employed for domestic applications (see IFW, below). At the same time, the USPTO began accepting electronically filed international applications via the same system (EFS-Web) that is used for electronic receipt of domestic applications. The images of documents so submitted are directly loaded into the Image File Wrapper (IFW) system. If the applicant uses PCT EASY to author the request form, then this bibliographic data is attached to the electronic submission and directly loaded into a database for ultimate use by POWER. Otherwise, typists transcribe bibliographic data from the scanned image of the request form.

Also in 2006, POWER began automatically transmitting bibliographic data in text form to the International Bureau as a first step towards electronic transmission of Record Copies.

POWER conducts automated formalities reviews based on this bibliographic data, prepares drafts of necessary correspondence and electronically routes the application to the next available formalities officer. Via a number of user interface screens, the formalities officer confirms or rejects the system's indication of errors and completes any necessary correspondence. Based on pre-programmed business rules, the system automatically routes the electronic file to the next work step. If the applicant requested that the USPTO prepare a certified copy of the priority document, an order is forwarded to the OEMS system at the appropriate time. POWER also updates PALM with data changes, provides management reporting, and allows for exception processing. All new international applications and follow-on documents are processed by the POWER system.

The first phase of USPTO's PCT electronic transmissions effort was implemented in 2007 with POWER transmitting Record Copies, as well as later submitted sheets, to the IB.

During the second phase completed in 2008, POWER greatly extended its electronic transmission capability by transmitting to IB other PCT documents such as PCT Chapter II documents, priority documents, and Sequence Listings. Furthermore, later in the same year POWER successfully completed the implementation of electronic data interchange with KIPO (Korean Intellectual Property Office) and began to electronically transmit both Search Copies and latter submitted sheets to KIPO.

In 2009, POWER was expanded to include:
• Electronic receipt of ISA Forms from KIPO
• Electronic transmission of Sequence Listings to KIPO

Both automation tasks will replace manual intensive paper processing.

Image File Wrapper (IFW)

In 2006, the focus of the USPTO was to minimize the amount of hard scanning that was required in order to capture document images within the Image File Wrapper (IFW) system. To this end, the USPTO enthusiastically promoted use of its web based Electronic Filing System (EFS-Web, q.v.) through which documents created by the applicant could be directly loaded. Further, substantial work was done in 2006 to prepare for soft scanning outgoing correspondence prepared by patent examiners, formalities reviewers and other staff directly into IFW. These features were successfully implemented in 2007.

Further, the USPTO implemented a new interface to its IFW system that allows the images and metadata contained on "Communication on Request" CDs from the International Bureau to be directly uploaded. Previously, these documents, which pertain to international applications entering national stage in the USPTO, had to be printed and hard scanned.

Also in 2006, the USPTO replaced its original document scanning system, an adaptation of the EPO EPOScan system. The new system was developed by RTIS, the contractor responsible for conducting the scans, and supports the functions of:
• Document image and metadata capture
• Document titling (assignment of the appropriate document code ("Doc Code"))
• Quality control
• Delivery of document images and document metadata to IFW or SCORE via the EAI Hub, and
• Delivery of application status or other management information to PALM or other USPTO systems.

In addition to being used for all domestic applications, this new scanning system also replaced POIS, the scanning and image storage system that had been dedicated to processing international applications. Coupled with the migration of images from the POIS database for international applications filed on or after 01 January 2004, this change completed the incorporation of international application images into the USPTO general image storage system, IFW. This permits applicants to monitor the progress of their international applications through Private PAIR as well as making published international applications generally available through Public PAIR.

During 2006 modifications and improvements were made to the IFW examiner interface (eDAN) to provide added user capabilities. These included enhanced OCR capability and File Wrapper Access (FWA) to office actions and other application documents for published applications from the JPO. FWA with the EPO was established in 2005.

Electronic Desktop Application Navigator (eDAN)

Electronic Desktop Application Navigator (eDAN) supports Patent Examiners and Patent Business to retrieve and examine an electronic Patent Application in daily Patent Office examination processes such as accessing images of Patent Applications, allowing users to instantly and concurrently access Revenue Accounting and Management (RAM), Patent Application Location and Monitoring (PALM), Bibliographic Data, Petitions Data, Image File Wrapper (IFW) scanned images, and IFW Messages and Supervisory Patent Examiners (SPEs), Special Program Examiners (SPREs), and Examiners can simultaneously review a case from their own offices.

During 2009 modifications and improvements were made to eDAN to support the New Count System.

Patent File Wrapper (PFW)

As part of the USPTO Patent File Wrapper (PFW) efforts, studies were conducted and a multi-year strategy was developed for replacing the current Image-based file wrapper system (IFW) with the next generation, text-based file wrapper system (PFW). PFW will enable smart text handling of all patent application documents. PFW will also incorporate document management and workflow control. This will result in significant improvements in efficiency and file integrity.

In 2006, substantial effort was expended to document the as-is process and develop the to-be process for the PFW environment. Replacement of eDAN and MADRAS, the interface tools used by the examining corp. to view and act on patent applications will be the first step in the implementation of the PFW. The first component deals with electronic routing of work while also providing the first look at the new interface for viewing applications. In 2008, the first deployment of PFW was made which included much of the functionality of the eDAN and MADRAS applications but introduced the first use of automated workflow for task handling.
PFW has been halted and the work in this area has been consumed by Patents End to End Project. This project continues with the same goals of PFW but with a broadened scope and a user centered design philosophy.

Search Systems

Examiners have access to two search clients, both of which provide text and image search and display capabilities. One is a browser-based client called WEST (Web-based Examiner Search Tool); the other is a coded client called EAST (Examiner Automated Search Tool). WEST is designed for ease of use and rapid deployment of new functionality. EAST has a more complex interface, designed for greater user customization, more rapid retrieval of images, and greater use of the keyboard. Through these search clients, all USPTO patent examiners have access to full U.S. patent images from 1790 and full U.S. patent text search from 1920. The 1920-1970 segment of the U.S. database is the U.S. Patents OCR database. Access to another segment of the U.S. Patents OCR database covering the period from 1790 to 1919 was planned for 2005. Since the introduction of U.S. Published Applications in March 2001, the full text and images of these documents have been made available. Also available are the contents of the First Page DataBase (FPDB) project, IBM Technical Disclosure Bulletins, and the Derwent World Patents Index (WPI). The FPDB consists of the English-language Patent Abstracts of Japan (PAJ) from 1976, and five European Patent Office (EPO) member states (EP patent documents, France, Germany, Great Britain and Switzerland), and WIPO patent documents (PCT Publications), from 1978. Additionally, examiners have access to full patent document images from 1920 for these same intellectual property authoring countries and organizations. The addition of full English-language text of EPO documents and full patent document images for additional intellectual property countries and organizations is planned.

The full text search databases for US Patents and Published Applications migrated to using the International Common Element (ICE) Red Book for Patent Grant Data/XML and Patent Application Data/XML publication format as the input source content in 2006.

International Patent Classification (IPC) Reform was implemented for both newly issuing US Patents and newly publishing US Published Applications effective January 1, 2006. Additionally, IPC Reform data was applied to existing US Patents and US Published Applications to supplement the IPC data existing at the time of their original dissemination. Both search clients were updated to present both the old and new IPC data.

The Public Search Facility at the USPTO campus was provided access to the USPTO internal Derwent World Patents Index (WPI) text searchable database previously provided only to examiners.

In 2008, implementation of the Middle Tier Phase 3 project was completed providing a multi-tiered application to improve the scalability and the performance of the BRS search system. Phase 3 enables data to be distributed across servers for better process management and system utilization. An addition of a new Superdome server also increases the performance to support the demands of more users and data

In 2008 the USPTO began the development on the Unpublished Patent Application Data (UPAD). The USPTO is processing newly filed patent applications to create text and image files similar to the existing Pre-Grant Publication format. The Patent applications are scanned as TIFF images into the Image File Wrapper repository, exported for OCR processing, and data entry resulting in XML Red Book text file and Yellow Book 2 TIFF image file of the unpublished patent applications. The XML Red Book file will be amended throughout the patenting process. The unpublished patent application text and image files are currently being loaded into SCORE for use by the patent examiners. At the completion of the UPAD project, the U.S. Patent Examination Corps will be able to search on unpublished patent application text and retrieve images within 45 days after receipt of an application through EAST and WEST - a major improvement on the current 18-month publication cycle.

Derwent XML implementation Phase 1 was completed in 2008. This included International Patent Classification Reform (IPCR) data for the Derwent abstracts, and involved the change over from subscriber format to full XML, data load and client display changes to EAST and WEST.

Preliminary efforts on the IP5 Foundation project started late 2008. Documents to support the two foundation projects that USPTO leads were created and circulated among the IP5 offices for review and comment, as well as preparation for the January 2009 IP5 Offices meeting hosted by USPTO. Throughout calendar year 2009, USPTO continued work on the IP5 Foundation projects. Specifically, USPTO participated at all scheduled meetings, commented on documents posted by the lead IP5 Office, and posted documents as the lead IP5 Office for consideration by other IP5 Offices.

Automated Biotechnology Search System (ABSS)

The USPTO relies heavily on nucleic acid (i.e., DNA, RNA) and amino acid (i.e., protein) sequence information supplied in biotechnology patent applications. This information is used to assess whether the claimed invention complies with the statutory requirements of utility, novelty, non-obviousness, and provides an enabling disclosure of the technology behind the invention. As well as internal USPTO databases, claimed sequences are searched against publicly available nucleotide and amino acid databases for relevant prior art and other information. The USPTO keeps pace with the rapid expansion in sequence information filings by continuing to enhance the ABSS system. The ABSS system comprises a network of IBM blade servers and Dell servers, which utilize the Smith-Waterman algorithm. Databases included in searches performed by the ABSS system are: GenBank/EMBL/DDBJ, GeneSeq, PIR, and UniProt public databases, as well as the internal USPTO databases: Pending, Published, and Issued.

STIC searching staff, and biotechnology examiners can access the ABSS system 24 hours per day, seven days per week. The searching staff is available to perform searches on behalf of the more than 400 examiners from Technology Centers 1600 and 1700.

Supplementary Complex Repository for Examiners (SCORE/PSIPS)

SCORE, the Supplemental Complex Repository for Examiners, was deployed in August 2005 to provide Examiner, Trilateral partner and public access to supplemental file wrapper data through the electronic Desktop Application Navigator (eDAN) and the Patent Application Information Retrieval (PAIR) system. The repository comprises the entire biosequence database, biosequence search results back to June 2005, and other selected supplemental file wrapper information.

SCORE stores and displays Sequence Listings, design drawings, color drawings, sequence search results files, query-by-example search results files, 3-D protein crystal tables, mega tables, mathematical equations, computer source code, and other supplemental file information or mega sections of applications in the native electronic formats. SCORE allows specialized viewing software to be applied to application data, if necessary.

The Publication Site for Issued and Published Sequences (PSIPS) is a system that provides a Web-based interface designed to provide access to voluminous content forming part of patent grants and publications, for example mega sequence listings (at least 300 pages), mega tables (at least 200 pages), and other mega data, that cannot reasonably be published by ordinary means. This system allows the user to access mega sequence listings, mega tables, and other mega data via the Internet. The data in PSIPS originates from the publishing contractor, which is currently Reed Technology Information Services (RTIS).

PatentIn and Checker

Since October 1990, the USPTO has made available to customers a set software tools to for creating biosequence listings: PatentIn and Checker. PatentIn and Checker provide customers with an efficient means to create and validate the Sequence Listing that must accompany, in paper form, or approved paper equivalent, and computer readable form (CRF), each biotechnology patent application that contains biological sequence information.

PatentIn, designed and developed in-house by the USPTO, is used by over 60 percent of customers who submit Sequence Listings. Several modifications and improvements to make PatentIn compatible for international use have occurred since 1990. Particularly, in 1996, the USPTO and the EPO began a cooperative effort to develop a Microsoft Windows-based version of PatentIn that would satisfy WIPO Standard ST.25. As a result of these efforts PatentIn 2.0 was released in 1998. In 2006, PatentIn 3.4 was released that was in compliance with section 508 of the Disabilities Act and dropped support of Windows 95, 98, ME, NT, Win2000.

In 2007, PatentIn 3.5 was released in November using the latest Microsoft .NET technology to provide better software performance, accessibility, and reliability. Now a PatentIn-generated ST.25 Sequence listing file can be imported into the PatentIn system for further sequence data modification and can be regenerated to produce a new sequence listing. It can also process a sequence as large as 12 MB and generate a sequence listing up to, but not limited to, 12 MB.

The Checker program provides an efficient and convenient means by which applicants may validate Sequence Listings to comply with U.S. and international filing requirements for biotechnology patent applications containing nucleic and amino acid sequence information prior to submission of the sequence listing to the USPTO. Checker validates sequence listings, prepared using PatentIn 3.5 or any other software, generated in accordance with the US sequence rules, 37 CFR §§1.821 - 1.825, effective July 1, 1998, the World Intellectual Property Organization (WIPO) Standard ST.25, as well as Sequence Listings created with the "old rules," those which became effective October 1, 1990. Use of Checker prior to filing Sequence Listings has resulted in fewer Sequence Listing errors discovered by USPTO, therefore fewer Sequence Listings returned to Applicants for correction. The last release of Checker was in December 2006.

(New) techniques used for the generation of patent information (printing, recording, photocomposing, Optical Character Recognition (OCR), etc.)

There are no new developments to report for calendar year 2009.

III. Matters concerning abstracting, classifying, reclassifying and indexing of technical information contained in patent documents

Abstracting, reviewing, translating

The Scientific and Technical Information Center (STIC) does not abstract technical information from patent documents.

The STIC translators and translation contractors provide full or partial English-language versions of patent documents upon request by USPTO staff. The annual workload in FY2009 was over twenty-one million written words, the majority of which were in the Japanese, German, Chinese, and French languages. In addition, the translation staff reviews with examiners the general contents of patent documents and provides partial oral translations prior to or in place of written translations. Machine translations for Japanese patents issued since 1993 are being provided to examiners as a method of improving translation turnaround time and controlling costs. USPTO also began making use of the KIPO machine translations of Korean patents and the EPO German machine translation tool.

Classification1, preclassification2 (if applicable), and reclassification3 activities; Classification system used, e.g., International Patent Classification (IPC), other classification (please indicate whether or not patent documents are classified by your Office and, if so, which classification is used)


In 2009, approximately 376,084 patent documents were reclassified and 743 new subclasses were established in 12 classes in the US Patent Classification (USPC) system, the primary classification system used at USPTO. Of this total, 52,304 were Pre Grant Publications and 323,780 were United States patent original or cross-reference classifications. The work was performed using a combination of USPTO and contractor resources.

In 2008 USPTO began using a new document based tool to process for reclassification new schemes, definitions, and batches of document lists. The previous system in use, CDS Desktop was intended for interactive use and could not adequately support the batching mode used by contracting support. The new system is used by all internal staff working on reclassification, and supports a two tiered quality assurance review.

The Office of Patent Classification maintains the USPC-to-IPC concordance table linking the United States Patent Classification system and the International Patent Classification (IPC 8) system. The Office of Patent Classification maintains a local copy of the IPC Valid Symbols, which it provides to PALM and the PGPub classification contractor to validate IPC symbols allotted to US documents.

Foreign Patent Classification (FPC) - The USPTO continued to develop automated systems and processes to assist with the classification of non-US patent documents in USPC. In association with unilateral, bilateral and/or trilateral classification harmonization projects, USPTO has developed a process for assigning USPC codes to unique non-US patent documents. This process will be expanded for incorporation with IPC Reform. The USPTO continues to investigate linguistic tools, namely, the USPTO’s text search engine and query-by-example (QBE) technology to further assist with the classification of the documents. Non-US patent documents that have USPC codes can be retrieved by those classifications using the Examiner electronic search systems “EAST” and “WEST”. The FPC databases contained approximately 5,232,622 distinct simple families of foreign documents classified in USPC, of which approximately 134,600 were reclassified in USPC during 2009.

All US patent documents are classified in USPC (the United States Patent Classification), and all US utility documents published since 07-Jan-1969 include an IPC classification (International Patent Classification). The electronic search systems EAST and WEST available within the USPTO and at selected Patent and Trademark Depository Libraries provide the capacity for searching US Patent documents with either a US or IPC classification designation.

Further information about the use of the US Patent Classification System is available at:

http://www.uspto.gov/main/patents.htm

Coordinate indexing (domestic deep indexing systems, keyword indexing)

No new activities have been initiated under this topic.

Hybrid system indexing

No new activities have been initiated under this topic.

Bibliographic data and full-text processing

Patent search capabilities provide text search of US Patent Applications (PGPub), US Patents, JPO and EPO abstracts, the Derwent World Patent Index Database, IBM Technical Disclosure Bulletins, and OCR text of US Patents issued between 1920 and 1971. For the OCR file, examiners identify relevant documents by text searching the OCR file and use the document images to determine applicability to applications under review.

Trilateral Document Access: File Wrapper Access (TDA:FWA) facilitates access by US patent examiners to the content of particular patent applications stored in participating foreign IP offices’ application file wrapper systems that correspond to US applications. The first phase of TDA, File Wrapper Access, was implemented with the European Patent Office (EPO) in 2005 to allow US examiners to view EPO application document images for published applications using the examiner’s eDAN examination tool. In 2006, USPTO added File Wrapper Access with the JPO and examiners of both offices will be able to access the selected application documents in the file wrappers of the other office. In an effort to further expand accessibility to foreign patent applications, the USPTO and KIPO implemented bi-directional access of TDA: FWA in 2008.

IV. Search file establishment and upkeep

File building

By the end of calendar year 2009, the total number of US Utility and Plant Patents increased by 168,818 for a total of 7,822,313 documents. Over 3,000 US patents were issued each week and added to the search file. Similarly, 328,236 PGPUBs were added to the search file at a rate of over 6,000 documents per week for a total of 2,474,449 PGPUBs since March 15, 2001.

The file of classification symbols is maintained by OPC on a daily basis. Every week new patent grants are issued on Tuesday, and new Pre Grant Publications are published on Thursday. By the end of 2009 the classification file contained approximately 8,290,494 OR classifications, of which 192,430 were added in 2009, and approximately 19,685,082 XR classifications for patent grants, of which 873,719were added in 2009. The file for maintaining classifications of Pre Grant publications contained approximately 2,293,170 Primary classifications, of which 328,211 were added in 2009, and approximately 2,745,657Secondary classifications, of which 433,503 were added in 2009.

OCR File

The USPTO has used OCR software to convert images of approximately 166,000 US patents issued between 1970 and 1976 missing from the current text file. It has also converted the US Patent backfile from 1970 to 1790, which is approximately 3.9 million additional documents. Work has been completed to load the converted text into the USPTO search engine, BRS/Search, for access via the search clients EAST and WEST. The load of the U.S. Patent OCR database is being implemented in two segments. One segment covers the time period 1790 to 1919, while the other segment covers the time period 1920 to 1971. As of January 2002, examiner access was provided through both EAST and WEST search clients to the 1920 to 1970 data. USPTO embellished these text records by obtaining and processing an electronic source of titles and inventor names. Providing access to the segment for the time period 1790 to 1919 has not been planned.

NPL

USPTO examiners have desktop access to over 21,762 journals in electronic format as well as nearly 41,418electronic books. Such Internet-based services as the IEEE/IEE Xplore, Proquest, ScienceDirect, and the ACM Digital Library are also widely used by examiners.

Development of a database of examiner-identified NPL continued. The database currently contains NPL on business methods, telecommunications, computer software, nanotechnology, designs, and other technology areas. The types of documents submitted by examiners include journal articles, portions of books, Internet documents, press releases, images, and standards. The database contains bibliographic and full text information.

Non-US Patents

The USPTO has undertaken a goal of providing real-time access to patent documents of international Intellectual Property Offices to the Examining Corps, Partnership Patent and Trademark Depository Libraries, and Public Search Room users. Because of the volume of global patent documents, priority has been given to providing access to PCT Minimum (PCT Article 34) patent documents first.

JPO and EPO patent full images commensurate with the text searchable files associated with the Trilateral First Page Database Project have been loaded to magnetic storage devices and made available to examiners through EAST and WEST. Additional JPO and EPO patent full images have been loaded to magnetic storage devices and made available through FPAS (Foreign Patent Access System) and the Foreign Document Retrieval capabilities of WEST.

Loading of the Korean Patent document images exchanged from KIPO started in 2008. The data was loaded into the Foreign Image and Data Load repository for retrieval through WEST-FISC and FPAS.

Updating

The USPTO has used OCR software to convert images of approximately 166,000 US patents issued between 1970 and 1976 missing from the current text file. It has also converted the US Patent backfile from 1970 to 1790, which is approximately 3.9 million additional documents. Work has been completed to load the converted text into the USPTO search engine, BRS/Search, for access via the search clients EAST and WEST. The load of the U.S. Patent OCR database is being implemented in two segments. One segment covers the time period 1790 to 1919, while the other segment covers the time period 1920 to 1971. As of January 2002, examiner access was provided through both EAST and WEST search clients to the 1920 to 1970 data. USPTO embellished these text records by obtaining and processing an electronic source of titles and inventor names. Providing access to the segment for the time period 1790 to 1919 has not been planned.

In 2008 the Historic Patent Project was completed with the addition to PIRS of images for over 500 US Patent Grants not previously available through EAST, WEST, and Patent Images on the Web.

The USPTO’s Data Maintenance Branch and staff perform the data loading and maintenance of both text and image data for the following domestic databases:

Patent Image Retrieval System (PIRS), Patent Images on the Web (PIW), Application Image Retrieval System (AIRS), Application Images on the Web (AIW), Bibliographic Retrieval Service (BRS) Patent Grant and Application Text Database, Publication Site for Issued and Published Sequences (PSIPS), Patent Application Location and Monitoring (PALM - Tape Creation Process), Patent Application Services and Security (PASS Grants and Application - Tape Creation Process), Electronic Filing System (EFS - Tape Creation Process), CD-Rom Reference Library System and the Trademark Image Capture and Retrieval System.

Storage, including mass storage media

In FY 1997 and FY 1998, the USPTO installed 42 Terabytes (TB) of Redundant Arrays of Independent Disk (RAID) magnetic disk storage to process patent, trademark, and other business data electronically. From FY 1999 through FY 2001 additional capacity was acquired that doubled the amount of online magnetic storage available. The USPTO continued its partnership with EMC Corporation for server attached and Storage Area Network (SAN) storage devices. At the end of FY 2004, the USPTO acquired over 400 TB of raw disk capacity. Managing this storage required continued vendor support, and implementation of storage management tools. In FY 2004 and FY 2005 the USPTO extended the SAN to support the agency move to Carlyle and to enhance disaster recovery capabilities. In FY 2006 the USPTO made a significant investment in NAS storage from the vendor NetApp by acquiring 400TB of raw disk capacity, followed by additional storage acquired for Disaster Recovery in FY07. The USPTO now has over 1.2 Petabytes of disk storage enabling the processing of all business areas needs, both in Carlyle and the remote Disaster Recovery site.

Documentation from other offices maintained and/or considered part of the available search file

The US Patent and Trademark Office receives, by means of exchange agreements, the patent documents of most countries of the World. The European Patent Office (EPO) provides the predominant number of patent documents for the majority of countries in accordance with WIPO exchange standards (WIPO ST.33 and ST.40). The USPTO has implemented production software to load these patent documents in electronic form to magnetic storage devices. Other countries, which provide independent exchange of documents in electronic form to the USPTO in compliance with the noted WIPO exchange standards, are also loaded to magnetic storage devices. These patent documents are available on the USPTO network through examiner search tools EAST and WEST. A number of countries, which provide independent exchange to the USPTO on CD-ROMs and/or DVD-ROMs but not in compliance with the WIPO exchange standards, are available in the Scientific and Technical Information Center (STIC) at a stand-alone workstation utilizing the source countries’ software for viewing and printing the patent documents when requested. STIC staff is making increasing use of the Internet sites created and maintained by national patent offices and multinational patent organizations. Access to Internet sites created and maintained by a number of national and multinational patent organizations is also publicly accessible in the Main STIC Library.

The USPTO has undertaken an effort to assign USPC classifications to foreign patent documents, thereby facilitating electronic retrieval of the full document facsimile images through classified search techniques. A unique preferred foreign patent document from each patent family will be identified for inclusion in the foreign patent electronic database for retrieval using USPTO search tools. The initial phase of this project added the capability to search foreign patents by USPC to the examiner search tools, and loaded over five million foreign patent USPC legacy records. Subsequent phases currently being planned involve the use of patent family information to eliminate the retrieval of duplicates when searching multiple electronic patent databases, and automated language translation capability.

The USPTO’s Facility Operations and Production Services Division (FOPSD) staff are responsible for all text and image data load processes and maintenance of both domestic and foreign patent data. FOPSD staff perform the data loading and maintenance of both text and image data for the following domestic databases: Patent Image Retrieval System (PIRS), Patent Images on the Web (PIW), Application Image Retrieval System (AIRS), Application Images on the Web (AIW), Bibliographic Retrieval Service (BRS) Patent Grant and Application Text Database, Publication Site for Issued and Published Sequences (PSIPS), BRS Keyword Database Update, Automated Biotechnology Search System (ABSS), CD-Rom Reference Library System, Early Data Capture Unpublished Text and Image Retrieval System, and the Trademark Image Capture and Retrieval System and the following foreign databases: Derwent WPI Data Load, Foreign Image Data Load (EPO/JPO Full Image Data, DOCDB, ECLA, JPO FI-Data File, Korean, Canadian Mimosa and Australian Mimosa).

V. Activities in the field of computerized and other mechanized search systems

In-house systems (online/offline)

The Examiners Automated Search Tool (EAST) provides examiner search and retrieval capabilities from the desktop using a dedicated client application. It provides a single user interface that can be used to search for prior art of any type and integrates with other activities performed by patent examiners in order to reduce the time required to examine applications. EAST provides access to full text data, full image data, and clipped image data. EAST offers full text and abstract text data search and retrieval on the following databases, using the Bibliographic Retrieval System (BRS) search engine: U.S. Patent Office (USPAT), U.S. Pre-Grant Publications (US-PGPubs), Optical Character Recognition scanned US patents (USOCR), Japanese Patent Office (JPO), European Patent Office (EPO), Derwent World Patents Index, and the IBM Technical Disclosure Bulletin (IBM TDB) database.

The Web-based Examiner Search Tool (WEST) allows US patent examiners to use an Internet Explorer 6 browser on their workstations to perform patent search and retrieve in the following databases: the Derwent World Parent Index (DWPI), US Patents Full Text (USPT), US Pre-Grant Publications (PGPubs), Optical Character Recognition scanned US patents (USOCR), Japanese Patent Office Abstracts (JPAB), European Patent Office Abstracts (EPAB), IBM Technical Disclosure Bulletins (TDB), and Foreign Image Data Load (FIDL).

The Automated Biotechnology Sequence Search (ABSS) system is the database, retrieval, and search system for the electronic form (CRF) of the biosequence submissions that are required of applicants who cite DNA, RNA, or protein sequences in patent applications. The ABSS system utilizes the Smith-Waterman algorithm to search public databases including: GeneSeq (Derwent), GenBank/EMBL/DDBJ, UniProt, and PIR, and internal USPTO databases, including: Pending, Published, and Issued. A project has been initiated to replace the current flat file databases with substantially more robust Oracle relational databases at its completion, which will allow for more efficient storage and search of the sequence data. The process of eventually retiring the older servers in the ABSS network by expanding the IBM Blade server array was begun in 2007

To assist examiners determine appropriate classifications where applications may be assigned for examination OPC maintains the Automated Routing Tool (ART). ART is a numerical linguistic tool that analyzes the text of an application in question, and along with optional user input makes available to the examiner the frequency distribution of classifications from the result set from a query generated from the analysis of the text.

In October 2000, the patent database on the Web was expanded to include additional U.S. patent image data back to 1790 and other ancillary documents. The patent image data can be accessed by a class/subclass search or by patent number. In March 2001, the USPTO began providing access to the searchable, full text of US published patent applications from March 15, 2001 to the present. Updates occur each Thursday publication date.

The Patent Application Information Retrieval (PAIR) system provides Public users access to patent application status information via the USPTO web site. Users can view and download bibliographic information as well as document images in both PDF and XML formats.

Patent Document Image Retrieval System

Examiners have access to the text and images of US, JPO, and EPO patents, Derwent abstracts, US published applications and IBM technical disclosure bulletins through a browser-based client called WEST and a coded client called EAST. WEST is designed for ease of use, and rapid deployment of new functionality. EAST has a more complex interface, designed for greater user customization, more rapid retrieval of images, and greater use of the keyboard. WEST was deployed in May 1998, and EAST was deployed in August of 1999.

EAST was upgraded several times in FY 2000 to provide rapid improvements and increased functionality in order to ease the transition of examiners from the legacy Messenger-based tools. In FY 2001, PGPub data was deployed and in FY 2003, the OCR back file was deployed. Future enhancements to EAST will provide increased access to foreign patent images. Continuing system performance upgrades and integration with other examiner-automated systems are also planned for future releases of EAST.

In June 2000, WEST 2.0 was deployed; offering foreign patent searching by USPC, patent classification searching in Manual of Classification order, customizable display formats and a host of other enhancements. In 2002-2003 WEST was enhanced to include the OCR back file to support to browsers other than Netscape, and to provide automated classification search query building from the Manual and Index of U.S. patent classifications. Future planned enhancements include performance upgrades and integration with other examiner automation tools.

In October 2000, the patent database on the Web was expanded to include additional U.S. patent image data back to 1790 and other ancillary documents. The patent image data can be accessed by a class/subclass search or by patent number. In FY 2001, the Internet began electronically publishing for Pre-Grant Publication (PGPub) patent applications. Biosequence repository data was made available in FY 2002. In FY 2003, assignment data was added to the website. Beginning in FY 2004 and completing in FY 2008, perfection of backfile data will be accomplished and placed on the web.

In 2008 EAST and WEST were updated to capitalize on the enhanced capabilities made available through the new Middle Tier Phase 3. As of 2008, a majority of patent examiners use EAST as their primary search tool, with the remainder using WEST. EAST users also use WEST for retrieving foreign patent images. A future enhancement to EAST will provide this capability in EAST itself.

Telecommuting Program (PHP or Hoteling)

PHP is a flexible telecommuting program that allows eligible USPTO employees to perform their official duties at an alternative work site, predominately at home. The Patents organization launched a telecommuting pilot in FY2005 as a precursor to initiating PHP in January 2006. By December 2009, the USPTO had more than 1,700 active PHP patent examiner employee participants. An additional 500 patent examiner employees are planned to be added each year through 2011 bringing the total number of PHP examiner participants to over 3000.

As a result of the popularity in the Patent examiners' telecommuting program (referred to as the Hoteling program), the USPTO recently expanded the examiner's Hoteling program by launching a hoteling program (PHP-N) to the positions of the technical support staff. The PHP-N program includes not only the technical support staff but also paralegals and petitions staff positions. Currently there are 185 active participants in the PHP-N program.

Major PHP elements include remote online access to all relevant USPTO patent business systems, collaborative communication technologies, and a hoteling component to reserve office space on the USPTO campus.

PHP incorporates a hoteling component whereby teleworking participants reserve time in an office suite physically located at the USPTO headquarters one day per week. There is one suite per ten telecommuters (1:10) ratio of office space allocated to the hotelers. The suites are outfitted with computers, printers, phones, and administrative resources for hoteling participants' use during their on-campus time. PHP participants can reserve suites via an automated desk reservation system remotely accessible through the USPTO Intranet site.

Over the course of this program, the USPTO has responded to telecommuting program inquires from the following external groups:

• Federal Reserve
• Government Services Administration (GSA)
• Canadian Patent Office (CIPO)
• Department of Transportation
• Department Of Interior - Fish & Wildlife
• Library of Congress
• Internal Revenue Service
• Department of Justice
• Department of Treasury - Treasury Inspector General Tax Administration (TIGDA)
• Loudoun County Government
• Congressional Aides
• United States Senate Staff
• National Institutes of Health
• European Patent Office (EPO)
• Japanese Delegates for the Center for Advanced Study and Research in Intellectual Property (CASRIP)
• Korean Broadcast Group
• State Intellectual Property Office of The People’s Republic of China (SIPO)

External databases

USPTO patent examiners and trademark attorneys have access to over 1,000 commercially available databases including those provided by STN, Questel/Orbit, Dialog, and LexisNexis.

The content of the Derwent World Patent Index file has been brought in-house via WEST and EAST for the patent examiners and is available to the public in the Public Search Facility. STIC searchers and patent examiners in the biotechnology field also have access to several public and commercial biosequence databases, including: GenEmbl, GenBank, Geneseq, UniProt and, PIR, and SPTREMBL, as well as the in-house Pending, Published, and Issued databases.

USPTO examiners have desktop access to over 21,762 journals in electronic format as well as nearly 41,418 electronic books. Such Internet-based services as the IEEE/IEE Xplore, Proquest, ScienceDirect, and the ACM Digital Library are also widely used by examiners.

Administrative management systems (e.g., register, legal status, statistics and administrative support)

Patents Location and Monitoring System (PALM) Migration

PALM continues to constitute the backbone for management information throughout the USPTO. PALM additionally tracks examiner and other employee production, case history and bibliographic data. Via PALM reports and ad-hoc reports, PALM data is used to manage and track the USPTO’s pending applications. Throughout 2007, the main emphasis was on making changes to provide services to other projects such as PFW, PAIR and the e-Office Action Pilot.

PALM on PTOnet

All managers, Patent examiners and support staff have been provided access to the current PALM System on their desktop PC via barcode readers and a web browser interface. Efforts at making more PALM interfaces web-browser-based have improved efficiency and increased case tracking accuracy.

Equipment used (hardware, including the types of terminal and network used, and software), carriers used

PTOnet has an architecture consisting of a campus-wide Gigabit Ethernet switched backbone with Telecommunications Room switches providing switched Ethernet connection to individual workstations. Currently, PTOnet users have dedicated 100 Mbps switched Ethernet connections.

PTOnet
Since desktop applications require increasingly more network bandwidth (through the backbone server attachments), in 2010 PTOnet will be upgraded to keep ahead of the requirements. PTOnet users will have dedicated 1000 Mbps connections; industry analysis indicates this will be more than sufficient for any forecast client application.

PTOnet provides examiners and other staff with access to the Internet through dual-redundant firewalls. Access zones implemented via firewalls and proxy servers have been implemented to provide a limited amount of controlled access to PTOnet resources for external users. Additional external access capabilities are being developed through the implementation of a variety of access control mechanisms including digital certificate-based authentication supported by a full Public Key Infrastructure (PKI).

Access to external databases

Examiners establish secure connections to the external databases via site to site Internet VPNs and secure Web Browser connections. The USPTO’s Internet access line bandwidth has been upgraded to two full T-3 connections and two full OC-3 connections (a total of 390 Mbps).

Existing online thesauri; their structure, presentation and usefulness for computerized searches

Both of the Search Systems, EAST and WEST, have the Assignee Thesaurus and a general technical thesaurus from the US Defense Technical Information Center (DTIC).

VI. Administration of the industrial property office library, and information products and services available to the public (relating to facilities, e.g., for lodging applications, for assisting clients on searching procedures, for obtaining official publications and registry extracts)

Planning, administration, automation, security, buildings

Planning and Administration

The Scientific and Technical Information Center (STIC) is organizationally part of the USPTO Search and Information Resources Administration. Although providing a number of services to the public, the primary mission of the STIC is to serve the examining and professional staff of the USPTO. STIC is composed of four divisions - the Centralized Services Division, the Electronic Information Center Division, the Digital Resources Division, and the Search and Automation Support Division.

The Digital Resources Division manages access to commercial databases and also manages the STIC NPL intranet pages. The Information Access and Management Branch, which provides acquisition, cataloging, and NPL web page management is part of this division.

The Centralized Services Division is responsible for assisting examiners and the general public in the use of the USPTO extensive collection of foreign patents as well as the scientific literature collections of the information center's main branch. The Lutrelle F. Parker, Sr. Memorial Law Library provides access to legal information for examiners, USPTO staff, and the general public. The division also provides copies of foreign patent documents to the public for a fee. The staff maintains the USPTO collection of print and microform foreign patent documents. The Centralized Services Division is also composed of the Reference Delivery Branch, which provides articles, books, and documents to examiners on request. The Translations Branch, which provides examiners with both oral and written English-language translations of foreign patent documents and technical articles, is also part of the Division. The Systems Branch reviews sequence listing submissions.

The Electronic Information Center (EIC) Division includes seven distinct branch information centers embedded within the Technology Centers (TCs) they serve. Each EIC maintains a physical collection of print materials related to the discipline of the Technology Center served. All EICs offer examiners a one-stop-shop for all their non-patent literature, foreign patent, reference delivery and search support needs. Staff provides examiners with online Non Patent Literature (NPL) and prior art searches, foreign patent data retrieval and patent family searches as well as document retrieval services for articles, books and journals from both print and electronic STIC collections.

The Digital Resources Division manages access to commercial databases and also manages the STIC NPL intranet pages. The Information Access and Management Branch, which provides acquisition, cataloging, and NPL web page management is part of this division.

The mission of the Search and Automation Support Division is to enhance patent examiner use of automation tools by providing training and one-on-one support. The training is focused on in-house and commercial tools that support patent search and examination.

Automation

STIC utilizes an automated library system accessible to examiners at the desktop. The catalog includes the post-1977 non-patent literature collection and the most active portion of the pre-1977 collection. The catalog allows searchers to hyperlink to electronic journals and books in the STIC collections.

STIC develops and maintains intranet pages providing access to Internet NPL tools and STIC services by art area. A Web page for each technology center presents links to databases, electronic books and journals, reference tools, and Web resources useful to examiners covering those arts. Specialized pages have also been developed in emerging areas of patent interest including business methods, traditional knowledge, and nanotechnology.

STIC's federated search system, NPL Mutli-Search, is a federated search interface which allows concurrent searching of Non-Patent Literature, and e-book resources based on Technology Center defined fields of search. It is accessible via the STIC NPL web page on the Examiner's Toolkit with resources selected to meet the Technology Center's subject interest.

Security, Buildings

The main STIC print and microformat collection is housed in various buildings throughout the campus along with other USPTO offices. All STIC facilities are accessible to USPTO employees 24 hours a day via an ID card reader system, as are STIC-provided electronic tools and resources. Two STIC libraries are open to the general public during regular business hours, Monday through Friday. STIC takes various security measures to ensure the integrity of the STIC collection, including issuing USPTO security passes to all STIC employees and utilization of a book detection system.

Collecting, acquisitions, preparation

STIC has the mission of identifying, acquiring and maintaining non-patent literature (NPL) in electronic and print formats, devoting special emphasis to literature for new and emerging technologies. The NPL resources acquired focus on the applied science and technology fields, with special emphasis on creating special collections or systems for rapidly developing technologies, e.g. computer software, business methods, nanotechnology, and biotechnology. Staff also identify, evaluate and monitor expenditures for online commercial databases. In addition, STIC manages a support contract for the USPTO, which covers library services, facilities management, and information management functions.

The Centralized Services Division processes and distributes all foreign patent documents and journals received at the USPTO. The majority of foreign documents are now received in CD-ROM format.

Collection management, preservation

The majority of the collections are in electronic form. Those portions of the collection maintained in Main STIC and the Lutrelle F. Parker Sr. Memorial Law Library are open to the public. In accordance with the Patent Cooperation Treaty (PCT), STIC meets minimum documentation requirements for foreign patent documents and non-patent literature and makes these documents available to the public.

Interlibrary lending, resource sharing, networks of patent libraries in the country

Interlibrary Loans

The STIC Reference Delivery Branch was established to expeditiously provide the Examining Corps with non-patent literature references. After an examiner requests a non-patent literature reference, the Branch locates the reference and requests document delivery from a vendor/supplier. This work is increasingly accomplished electronically via fax, Internet, Ariel, CARL/Uncover, and other services. The staff uses OCLC (a national on-line shared cataloging and interlibrary loan system) and an in-house CUADRA Star database as location tools and Dialog and STN for citation verification.

Reference and Copy Services

STIC provides reference assistance to examiners in the main facility, the Electronic Information Centers, Main STIC Library, and the Parker Law Library during regular business hours. Reference service for examiners includes assistance with technical and reference materials, commercial online databases searches, document delivery, and sequence searches on the USPTO internal automated biotechnology search system. With appropriate USPTO user passes, the public may gain access to the main facility and the Parker Law Library and use the collections (on-site), public copiers, and microfilm readers.

The STIC foreign patent staff provides assistance with the foreign patent collection to USPTO staff and to the public. Computer searches on commercially available services such as Questel/Orbit and LexisNexis are provided for USPTO staff only. As part of the public services available, the foreign patent staff will help the public locate foreign patent information by providing advice regarding searching, databases, and collections. Public users can make their own copies of foreign documents, or remotely, can request copies of foreign patents from the extensive STIC collections. The copy services are available both directly from the USPTO and as a component of the special service mix at Patent Depository Regional Libraries.

Resource Sharing

STIC, a participant of the OCLC shared cataloging and interlibrary loan system, is a non-supplier for interlibrary loans. STIC is also participating with research networks via the Internet to complement the existing shared cataloging and interlibrary loan system.

Network of Patent and Trademark Depository Libraries (PTDLs)

The USPTO Patent and Trademark Depository Library Program (PTDLP) consists of 82 academic, public, state and special libraries, referred to as PTDLs, located in 47 states, the District of Columbia, and Puerto Rico. A list of PTDLs may be viewed at the USPTO Web site.

The 32nd Annual PTDL Training Seminar held in Alexandria, Virginia from March 30-April 2, 2009 hosted 65 registrants representing 60 PTDLs and several potential PTDLs.

The PTDL Program was involved in a number of outreach activities during CY 2009. PTDLP sponsored and staffed exhibit booths at national library conventions in Washington, D.C. Public seminars and staff training was also conducted at a number of PTDLs throughout the year. Numerous briefings on the PTDL Program were also provided to international visitors attending the new USPTO Global IP Academy and to various U.S. Government Agencies.

Information on the Patent and Trademark Depository Library (PTDL) Program is available from the PTDLP Web site located at: www.uspto.gov/go/ptdl. The Web site includes information about the Program's mission, history, background, services, and core collections, as well as links to the Program's publications, materials, and reference tools. Each of the 82 PTDLs is linked to the USPTO Web site PTDL List.

Automated Information in Patent and Trademark Depository Libraries

Web-based online searching for the patent text and image database via Pub West is available at all 82 PTDLs. All PTDLs also provide public access to the USPTO Web site.

The USPTO continues to provide optical disc products to PTDLs for direct public use. This includes all Cassis and USA optical disc products; Patents BIB, Patents CLASS, Patents ASSIST, Patents & Trademarks ASSIGN, Trademarks BIB, USAPat, USAApp, USAMark and the Patents (eOG:P).

Information services available to the public (including computerized services and search files contained in libraries remote from your Office and patent information posted by your Office on the World Wide Web)


Automated Patent Information in Public Search Facility

The USPTO Public Search Facility (PSF) provides public users with access to over 20 software applications that provide full-text search and/or document retrieval capability. The primary information delivery channel in the PSF is the Universal Public Workstation (UPWS). The UPWS is a secured access computer providing a single platform and consistent interface to all databases. There are over 230 UPWS workstations available to the public and online system use during FY 2009 totaled over 148,000 hours.

Public versions of the patent examiner search system EAST and the Patent Application Information Retrieval (PAIR) are the heaviest used applications provided on UPWS. Other patent software applications available on UPWS include USPTO Web site, Assignment Historical Database (AHD) and the patent examiner search system WEST.

Both EAST and WEST retrieve all U.S. patent images and word search the text contained in U.S. patents granted since 1971. The Optical Character Recognition application allows searching of U.S. patents both text and images back to 1920. EAST and WEST also provide text searching of English language patent abstracts from the European Patent Office (EPO) and Japan Patent Office (JPO), and a set of foreign patent images formerly available only on CD-ROM. Public users search Re-exam file information by logging onto the PAIR application.

UPWS provides access to World Patents Index (WPI), a proprietary database that is also available to USPTO patent examiners. This search tool is accessed through EAST. UPWS users also access new text search indexes to retrieve U.S. patent grants and U.S. published patent applications associated with International Patent Classification (IPC) data in accordance with IPC reform.

The Public Search Facility is one of the USPTO wireless hot spots whereby facility customers may use their personal computers or communication devices in the facility to access Internet resources. This capability allows users to supplement or expand their intellectual property researching activities as they search/retrieve information using the Universal Public Workstation.

Training courses on EAST and WEST are offered free monthly and on an as needed basis. Special one-page guides and Helpful Hints are available in the on-line search areas. Individual assistance is available from staff.

Public users have opportunities throughout the year to participate in Beta testing of updated versions of software applications. Public users provide comments on how to improve access to patent information by making changes to software applications.

Data Products Provided to the Public

The USPTO Electronic Information Products Division (EIPD) continues to provide patent information products and services to the public in a variety of formats. The Products and Services Catalog on the USPTO Web site describes USPTO products and services, and contains details on how to obtain them.
The USPTO maintains World Wide Web (WWW) sites on the Internet, which permit the public free access to selected information related to patents and trademarks through interactive search requests or downloadable data files.

The following optical disc products are available for purchase by the public:

Patents BIB: Selected Bibliographic Information from US Patent Grant Publications and Patent Application Publications Issued 1969 to Present. This Cassis DVD-ROM is a two-disc set, (1) Patents BIB Grants contains bibliographic information for utility patent grants issued from 1969 to the present and for other types of patent documents issued from 1977 to the present; (2) Patents BIB Apps contains bibliographic information for patent application publications beginning March 15, 2001 to the present. There are more than 15 searchable fields including title, abstracts from September 1988 to present, current classifications, assignee at time of issue, date of issue, serial number, inventors’ names and full addresses (if not assigned at time of issue), and status (i.e., withdrawn, corrected, expired for failure to pay maintenance fees, reinstated, reexamined or term extended). Patents BIB provides images locations on USAPat discs for patents issued 1969 to date and USAApp discs for patent applications published March 15, 2001 to date. Depending on the user’s equipment, the two-set disc can be searched simultaneously. This DVD-ROM product is updated every two months.

Patents CLASS: Current Classifications of US Patents Issued 1790 to Present. This Cassis DVD-ROM contains current classification information for all utility, design, plant, reissue and X-numbered patents, as well as defensive publications and statutory invention registrations issued from 1790 to the present (over 6 million documents). Indexing of classification information has been optimized for rapid retrieval. This DVD-ROM product is updated every two months.

Patents ASSIGN and Trademarks ASSIGN: US Patents and Trademarks Assignments Recorded at the USPTO 1980 August to Present. This Cassis DVD-ROM 2-disc set includes bibliographic data derived from assignment deeds for issued patents and registered trademarks, which were recorded at the Patent and Trademark Office after August 1980 for patents, and since 1955 for trademarks. The Patents ASSIGN disc includes assignments recorded before and after the patent issued. This DVD-ROM product is updated every two months.

Patents ASSIST: Full Text of Patent Search Tools. This Cassis DVD-ROM is a compilation of many patent search tools including the following: Manual of Classification, Index to the US Patent Classification, Manual of Patent Examining Procedure, IPC - USPC Concordance, and Attorneys and Agents Registered to Practice Before the US Patent and Trademark Office. In addition, Classification Definitions, a Patentee-Assignee Index, and a Classification Orders Index are included. The Patentee-Assignee Index shows ownership at time of issue for utility patents 1969 to present; for other patent types 1977 to present; and inventor names 1975 to present. The Classification Orders Index is a list of classifications abolished and established since 1976 with corresponding Classification Order number and effective date. This DVD- ROM product is updated every three months.

Manual of Patent Examining Procedure (MPEP). This Manual is published to provide US Patent and Trademark Office patent examiners, applicants, attorneys, agents, and representatives of applicants with a reference work on the practices and procedures relative to the prosecution of patent applications before the Patent and Trademark Office. The MPEP is available in electronic form as an ASCII text file downloadable (no charge) from the USPTO Web site on the Internet at http://www.uspto.gov/, and as a searchable text file on the Patents ASSIST DVD-ROM product, which includes many other useful files. Each revision is fully incorporated into the base edition and republished as a whole.

USAPat: Facsimile Images of United States Patents. This Cassis DVD-ROM product contains facsimile images of US patents from 1790 to present. An image is an actual page of the patent, including all drawings, and looks just like the original printed document. The purpose of USAPat is to serve as a document delivery system, not as a search system. Retrieval is by document number only from a cumulative index. Excellent printed copies of actual documents can be obtained directly from a laser printer. Delivery of weekly discs is usually within 15 days from issue date.

USAApp: Facsimile Images of United States Patent Application Publications. USAApp contains facsimile images of the U.S. patent application publications filed on or after November 29, 2000 and published weekly beginning March 15, 2001. A law effective November 29, 1999, requires publication of patent applications approximately 18 months after the effective filing date. All utility and plant patent applications will be published unless the application is not filed in another country and the applicant expressly requests that the application not be published, or the patent has been granted. Design patent applications will not be published. An "image" looks like an actual page of the application, including all drawings. USAApp is a document delivery system, not a search system. Retrieval is by document number only from a cumulative index. Excellent printed copies can be obtained directly from a laser printer.

Trademarks BIB: Bibliographic Information from Abandoned, Canceled, Expired, Pending, and Registered US Trademarks. This Cassis DVD-ROM is a two-disc set that contains selected bibliographic records for all abandoned, canceled, expired, pending, and registered trademarks from 1884 to present with 30 searchable fields. This DVD-ROM product is updated every two months. Trademarks BIB also refers to trademark image locations on USAMark, described below.

USAMark: Facsimile Images of United States Trademark Registrations. This Cassis CD-ROM contains facsimile images of U.S. trademark registration certificates issued from 1870 to the present. An image is an actual page of the trademark, including renewals and modifications, and looks just like the original printed document. USAMark is a document delivery system, not a search system. Retrieval is by document number only from a cumulative index that covers all issued discs. Excellent printed copies of actual documents can be obtained directly from a laser printer. USAMark is published monthly.

Electronic Official Gazette of the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office – Patents (eOG:P). The eOG:P began publication in July 2002 on both the USPTO Web site (free) and on CD-ROM (subscription). In September 2002, the eOG:P replaced the paper Official Gazette that had been published since 1872. The eOG:P contains the OG record, including an exemplary claim and a representative image (if applicable). Indexes by type of patent (e.g., utility, design), patentee name (both inventor and assignee), geographical location of the first listed inventor (U.S. state or country), and classification are provided. The eOG:P is available each Tuesday. A rolling calendar year’s worth of eOG:P are kept on the USPTO Web site.

URLs of web pages of the Office's website for electronic filing of patent applications

In March 2006, the USPTO launched a new and improved patent application electronic filing system, EFS-Web. Applicants can use EFS-Web to file patent applications and pay fees online. EFS-Web provides an electronic Acknowledgement Receipt immediately at time of submission. EFS-Web is available 24/7 at http://www.uspto.gov/patents/process/file/efs/index.jsp.

URLs of web pages of the Office’s website that provide information on business procedures such as: filing, publication, examination and grant procedures related to patents; opposition and appeal procedures related to patents; etc.

The USPTO provides online help material for EFS-Web, including tools, tutorials, Computer Based Training (CBT), and FAQs, at http://www.uspto.gov/patents/process/file/efs/guidance/index.jsp

In addition, the Patent Electronic Business Center (EBC) provides technical assistance to patent applicants on how to use EFS-Web and other eCommerce systems. Patent EBC hours and contact information are listed at http://www.uspto.gov/patents/ebc/policy/ebc_help.jsp

URLs of web pages of the Office’s website that provide a description of information products and services offered by the Office (e.g., patent search service(s) and patent databases), as well as information on how to access and utilize them

See http://www.uspto.gov

VII. Matters concerning mutual exchange of patent documentation and information

International or regional cooperation in the exchange of machine-readable information, e.g., bibliographic data, abstract and/or full text information

Patent document exchanges are maintained with substantially all patent-issuing intellectual property offices. US patents images and information are provided to 92 intellectual property offices on optical disc products (mostly in DVD-ROM format - see descriptions of the products above). Copies of US plant patents are provided in paper form to 17 intellectual property offices.

The USPTO has been involved in a variety of discussions concerning the exchange of patent documentation and information. Principally, these efforts have taken place in the context of the Trilateral Partnership consisting of the European Patent Office (EPO), the Japan Patent Office (JPO) and the USPTO. The Trilateral Partners continue to work with WIPO on a number of patent-related matters, e.g., developing and updating standards related to storage of patent data on electronic media, etc.

Trilateral Document Access: File Wrapper Access

In June 2006, Trilateral Document Access: File Wrapper Access (TDA:FWA) was established between USPTO and JPO. TDA: FWA facilitates access by patent examiners to the content of particular patent applications stored in participating foreign IP offices' application file wrapper systems. In particular, TDA: FWA allows a US examiner to review office actions and search results developed by an examiner in another IP office who worked on an application corresponding to a US application. The USPTO implemented a first phase of File Wrapper Access in March 2005 with the European Patent Office (EPO) to allow US examiners to view EPO application document images for published applications using the examiner's eDAN examination tool. Similar access to US files was granted to EPO examiners. The connection with the JPO operates in a similar fashion. The JPO makes robust use of FWA linkage to US applications with over 6,000 sessions per month. US examiners use FWA several thousand times per month to gain access to EPO or JPO applications. The USPTO and KIPO noted increased usage of TDA:FWA among examiners after implementing this service in 2008.

Trilateral Document Access: Priority Document Exchange

Throughout 2006, the USPTO and EPO worked to establish direct electronic office-to-office exchange of priority documents using Trilateral Document Access: Priority Document Exchange (TDA:PDX) culminating with deployment in January 2007. This system allows an Office of Second Filing to request delivery of a certified copy of an application to which priority has been claimed from the Office of First Filing. The images of the priority documents retrieved from the EPO are loaded directly into IFW eliminating the need to handle any paper. These documents typically are not yet published but the system operates over TRINET thereby ensuring a secure connection. Further, the system is constructed in compliance with the latest version of the TDA Specification, which provides for the exchange of numerous error, fault and status messages that allow both the sender and the receiver to monitor the success of the transmission. TDA:PDX is proving popular with applicants who are exempted from any charge for the service.

A similar exchange was implemented in 2007 between USPTO and JPO and implementation between USPTO and KIPO in 2008.

Bibliographic Data Delivery to IB

In late fall 2006, the US receiving Office (RO/US) began delivering the bibliographic data for international applications to the International Bureau (IB) in machine readable form. In particular, information authored by the applicants using PCT EASY or transcribed by typists within the USPTO (for those applications not accompanied by PCT EASY data) is now delivered electronically upon completion of record copy examination. The system relies on an EDI connection between the USPTO and IB with the data structured in accordance with the minimal specification requirements of Annex F. In 2007, the USPTO began sending image data to the IB, in particular record copies and certified copies of US applications (priority documents) to which priority is claimed in an international application filed in the RO/US.

Medium used for exchange of priority documents

In 2003 USPTO began providing certified copies of priority documents on CD-R media accompanied by a paper certification sheet when the size of the document exceeds 400 paper pages. Patent applicants have the ability to order either certified or uncertified unpublished patent applications, via Private PAIR (Patent Application Information Retrieval) on the web.

Patents

In 2007, the USPTO implemented electronic priority document exchange (TDA:PDX) with the EPO and JPO. Using the secure TriNet network connection, the images of applications-as-filed are delivered from one office to the other and directly loaded into the office's image database. This service was implemented between USPTO and KIPO in 2008. USPTO is exploring the potential for use of this service with patent offices in Mexico and China.

Medium allowed for filing applications

Electronic Filing System Web (EFS-Web)

In October 2000, the USPTO implemented EFS (Electronic Filing System), to allow applicants to file patent applications electronically. This first generation system was advanced for its time, utilizing PKI (Public Key Infrastructure) and XML (Extensible Markup Language) technology; however, user adoption was slow, reaching near 2% at its peak.

In March 2006, USPTO revamped EFS and launched EFS-Web (Electronic Filing System Web), implementing many suggestions received from its customers in the intellectual property community. Unlike its predecessor, EFS-Web was simple and does not require users to install software on their local machines, nor understand XML. EFS-Web is completely Web-based and allows users to submit their patent application documents as PDF (Portable Document Format) files. Certain documents are also accepted as ASCII text files (e.g., sequence listings, complex tables, and computer program listings) and ZIP format (i.e., PCT-Safe .zip file). EFS-Web also enabled filers to pay fees online in real-time. EFS-Web uses PKI digital certificate to provide strong authentication and SSL/TLS for encrypted secure transmission. Upon submission, EFS-Web provides an immediate electronic Acknowledgement Receipt.

EFS-Web accepts the following application types: utility (nonprovisional), provisional, design, national stage filed under 35 USC 371, international, reissue, and reexam. Drawings for design patent applications, which may include color, are stored in the USPTO SCORE (Supplemental Complex Repository for Examiners) system. The as-filed PDF of these documents in SCORE to preserve the high-fidelity and resolution of images.

When creating application documents, applicants can use a standard word processor and then convert the final version to PDF for filing in EFS-Web. The majority of PDF writer/creator software can be used to convert printable documents to PDFs, as long as the software meets PDF standards. Copiers and scanners can also be used to create PDF files, which must have 300 DPI resolution to ensure proper rendering by USPTO systems.

Most applications also include forms. Applicants can download USPTO PDF fillable forms or use customized forms that they create. In addition, EFS-Web provides a special group of PDF fillable forms call EFS-Web eForms. Data from eForms are automatically loaded to USPTO internal system when submitted in EFS-Web. This process reduces data entry errors and saves time by having data be available in USPTO systems quicker. The following eForms are available: (1) ADS (Application Data Sheet); (2) IDS (Information Disclosure Statement); (3) Petition to Make Special Under Accelerated Examination Program; (4) Provisional Application for Patent Cover Sheet; and (5) Request for Continued Examination (RCE) Transmittal. Two ePetitions are available for automatic processing by EFS-Web: (1) Petition to Accept Unintentionally Delayed Payment of Maintenance Fee in an Expired Patent (37 CFR 1.378(c)); and (2) Petition to make special based on Age. If all petition requirements all met, EFS-Web will grant the ePetition instantly and provide a grant letter at the time of filing.

Customer response to EFS-Web has been enthusiastic. At the end of FY06, less than a year after implementation, EFS-Web received 14.2% of all patent applications filed, exceeding the 10% filing goal set by the agency. Electronic filing rates continued to increase and exceed filing goals, reaching 49.5% in FY2007 and 72.1% in FY2008.

The USPTO continues to make improvements to EFS-Web, based on customer feedback. In 2008, EFS-Web implemented two major software releases, which included the following enhancements: new ePetition to make special based Age for auto-processing; simpler and improved usability of navigation menus; additional validations to help filers identify errors earlier; additional integration with Private PAIR; increased file size limitation for sequence listings; and upgrades in hardware and software platform to enhance availability, performance, and security.

EFS-Web can be accessed 24/7 at https://sportal.uspto.gov/efs. Online help material for EFS-Web, including tools, tutorials, Computer Based Training (CBT), and FAQs, is available at http://www.uspto.gov/ebc/efs_help.html. The Patent Electronic Business Center (EBC) provides technical assistance to patent applicants on how to use EFS-Web and other eCommerce systems. Patent EBC hours and contact information are listed at http://www.uspto.gov/ebc/ebc_help.htm

Patent Application Information Retrieval (PAIR)

The Patent Application Information Retrieval (PAIR) system was deployed in 1998 and then was upgraded in 2003 to include the listing of documents from the Image File Wrapper (IFW) database. PAIR displays a subset of data maintained in the internal Patent Application Location and Monitoring (PALM) and IFW systems to Internet users via the USPTO web site. The PAIR site is securely isolated from the internal database and other internal systems. There are two versions of PAIR, Public and Private. Public PAIR displays status information for published applications and issued patents. Private PAIR displays status information for all USPTO applications whether they are pending, published or abandoned. Private PAIR uses the Public Key Infrastructure (PKI) to provide strong authentication and browser-independent session encryption when displaying pending patent application data.

The Private PAIR e-Office Action Pilot Program continued in 2008. The e-Office Action program provides patent applicants of the United States Patent and Trademark Office (Office) with the option of receiving e-mail notification when new Office communications have been prepared and are accessible in Private PAIR. The program is designed to be a flexible alternative to receiving mailed paper copies of Office communications.

VIII. Other relevant matters concerning education and training in, and promotion of, the use of patent information, including technical assistance to developing countries (please indicate URLs of web pages of the Office’s website wherever appropriate)

Training courses for national and foreign participants, use of audiovisual means

Patent Training Academy (PTA or Academy)

The Patent Training Academy (PTA) hired 563 new examiners in FY-09. Supervisory Patent Examiners and trainers, who have completed a comprehensive train-the-trainer workshop, supervised a lab of 16-18 new examiners during the 8-month training program. The new examiners attended lectures created by a Curriculum Committee of senior patent managers. These lectures were presented by patent subject matter experts. The new examiners returned to their labs to apply the lecture material, conduct searches, and complete live office actions. Under the direct supervision of their Lab Trainer and Training Assistants, who were senior examiners with expertise in specific technologies and art, new examiners completed their new examiner program with a three-hour Proficiency Exam. A formal graduation, attended by the senior executives of the Agency, was held and the new examiners transitioned to a Technology Center to continue their career development.

The success of the PTA is partially due to the collaborative direction of Patents senior executives of the USPTO. The Director of the Office of Patent Training (OPT) frequently meets with the Deputy Commissioner for Patents to assess progress and to review goals and objectives. In addition, the Patent Academy Steering Committee, consisting of the OPT Director and Group Directors from each Technology Center, meets weekly to identify new examiner training and development concerns and to offer solutions to program and administrative issues.

The management team continually assesses the performance of the new examiner training program and identifies and recommends opportunities for improving the effectiveness and efficiency of the PTA. In FY-09 the PTA was the first USPTO organization to apply for the prestigious ISO-9000 2008 certification for the facilitation of the New Examiner Training Program for the USPTO. PTA received the Certificate of Registration in June, 2009.

The USPTO Office of Patent Training provided a revised academy training program to a group of International Examiners-in-Residence (IEIR) from July 2009 to December 2009. This program was presented in coordination with the training program for new US examiners at the time. Eight government officials from four countries attended the program, which covered patents rules, laws, automation and procedural training and practical application. A field of expert lecturers from the USPTO and IP community gave presentations and led discussions. The international examiners attended most lectures along with the US examiners. In addition, courses in state-of-the-art technology and USPTO automation software systems used to assist in the examination process were offered. The program is part of the USPTO’s ongoing commitment to share and educate our foreign counterparts.

Assistance to developing countries (sending consultants and experts, receiving trainees from developing countries, etc.)

The USPTO Global Intellectual Property Academy (GIPA) offers capacity building programs in the United States and around the world on IPR protection, enforcement, and capitalization. Capacity-building programs are offered to patent, trademark and copyright officials, judges, prosecutors, police, customs officials, foreign policy makers, examiners and rights owners. In delivering capacity building programs, the Academy works closely with other U.S. government agencies, trading partners, international organizations, and rights holders. Through GIPA programs, foreign officials learn about international IP obligations and norms, and are exposed to a U.S. model of protecting and enforcing IPR and discussion of IP issues in a collaborative learning environment. In 2009, the GIPA provided training to more than 2,200 officials from 128 countries on a variety of topics, including IP protection and enforcement, and technology transfer.

In 2009, the USPTO’s GIPA initiated a new pilot program exposing patent officials from other countries to the USPTO Patent Training Academy's (PTA) patent examiner training program. The six-month long International Examiners in Residence (IEIR) Program included most of the PTA's new examiner training curriculum. In addition, the IEIR covered other IP topics, such as copyright, trademark and enforcement issues. In order to provide a full perspective of the U.S. IP system, the IEIR also included visits to the Board of Patent Appeals and Interferences, the federal District Court of the Eastern District of Virginia, the Court of Appeals for the federal Circuit, and the Supreme Court, to witness oral hearings at each of these judicial proceedings. Eight patent examiners in various technologies from the patent offices in China, Germany, Korea, and Saudi Arabia participated in the pilot program.

In 2009, the USPTO developed and produced GIPA’s new Distance Learning Modules, a new method for delivering IP education, which provide presentations addressing the basics of trademarks, geographical indications, patents, copyright, enforcement and trade issues, as well as information on international standards and the U.S. experience. The modules are available online and include a video presentation and an accompanying PowerPoint presentation on each topic. The Distance Learning Modules are also accessible in a number of foreign languages, including Arabic, French, Russian, and Spanish.
In 2009, the USPTO and the Chilean National Institute of Industrial Property (INAPI) signed an MOU, emphasizing the importance of bilateral relationships, and wherein the USPTO agreed to provide technical assistance to improve the administration of intellectual property systems and to develop professional skills. Additionally, the USPTO signed an MOU with the Brazilian National Institute of Industrial Property (INPI) focusing on cooperation in matters relating to the acquisition, utilization and protection of industrial property rights.
The USPTO continued its work under a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) with India’s Department of Industrial Policy and Promotion to cooperate in capacity building activities, human resource development, and public awareness programs. Specific activities as part of an action plan on bilateral cooperation were developed, including a number of anti-counterfeiting public awareness events in cities throughout India, IPR border enforcement training for Indian customs officials, IPR education events for universities, and an IPR workshop for judges from Delhi’s Lower Courts.
In the area of enforcement, the USPTO’s GIPA organized and hosted two joint APEC-ASEAN-PIF capacity-building events, namely the Colloquium for Public Prosecutors and the Judiciary on IPR Enforcement in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia, and the Workshop on the Border Enforcement of Intellectual Property Rights in Honolulu, Hawaii. GIPA also conducted a successful two-week study tour program on IPR enforcement and the U.S. legal system for 23 foreign government judges and prosecutors including officials from Brazil, Brunei Darussalam, Chile, Cambodia, India, Indonesia, Laos, Lebanon, Malaysia, The Philippines, Thailand, and Vietnam.

In Latin America, the USPTO partnered with the U.S. Embassy in Santiago, Chile, to deliver a two-city program for Chilean border enforcement officers covering the issue of IP enforcement in March of 2009. In July 2009, through partnership with INL, the USPTO conducted an enforcement program for Brazilian judges. The USPTO conducted a judicial workshop for Mexican judges in Mexico City, Mexico in September 2009. The workshop gave the judges an overview of intellectual property and provided them with case studies on trademarks, copyrights, provisional measures and deterrent sentencing. The USPTO also participated, by invitation from the American Chamber of Commerce (AmCham) in Guatemala, in training Guatemalan judges by providing them with an overview of enforcement provisions in the DR-CAFTA.

In Egypt, the USPTO held a Counterfeit Medicines Workshop in January 2009, which addressed all facets of investigating, interdicting, seizing and prosecuting IPR violations involving pharmaceuticals. The attendees came from the Ministry of Health, Ministry of Justice, Customs, Internal Security and the Consumer Protection Agency. Following the program, the Ministry of Health revised its internal regulations to provide for unannounced raids of pharmaceutical distribution warehouses, which is considered a dramatic improvement in enforcement. In Lebanon an IPR Border Enforcement Workshop was held in June 2009, which included basic and advanced border enforcement concepts. The participants came from Customs, Internal Security Forces (ISF) and Public Prosecution.

In sub-Saharan Africa, the USPTO coordinated or participated in IPR enforcement related programs in Ghana, Kenya, Mali, Mozambique, Nigeria, and South Africa. In February 2009, the USPTO co-sponsored a regional customs program in Accra, Ghana that led to the development of an Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS) endorsed set of IPR recommendations. In May 2009, the USPTO conducted a regional customs workshop in South Africa that also led to the development of recommendations endorsed by the 14 countries in attendance from the Southern African Development Community (SADC). These recommendations will serve as guidelines for future capacity building exercises and assist with the improvement of IPR enforcement on a regional basis.

In June 2009, the USPTO in cooperation with US Customs & Border Protection provided training to over 250 Nigeria Customs Service (NCS) officials at multiple ports in and around Lagos, Nigeria. The USPTO is facilitating the development of a database for NCS that will allow for the distribution of information critical to reducing the flow of counterfeit and piratical goods. In addition to the in-country training, the USPTO has also trained more than 400 government officials from 31 sub-Saharan Africa countries at GIPA on a range of IP protection and enforcement topics. These programs provide capacity building via the sharing of best practices with US IP experts and are crucial for establishing training relationships for the more widely attended and region specific in-country programs.

In June 2009, in cooperation with the United Kingdom Industrial Property Office and the Government of Bosnia-Herzegovina, USPTO conducted in Sarajevo a regional conference for police and prosecutors on intellectual property crime. Officials from Bosnia-Herzegovina, Croatia, Serbia, Slovenia, Montenegro and the United Kingdom participated in the program which focused on hard goods counterfeiting and digital piracy investigation and prosecution.

In Russia, USPTO organized and participated in the following programs in May 2009: "IPR Roundtable for Prosecutors and Investigators" in St. Petersburg for approximately 20 prosecutors and investigators from St. Petersburg; and a "Colloquium for the Russian Judiciary on IPR Enforcement" in Moscow for more than 120 Russian federal judges from cities and regions around Russia. In September, the USPTO conducted a customs study tour of the United States for twelve officers from the Russian Federal Customs Service (RFCS). The RFCS officers visited ports at Long Beach, LAX and Otay Mesa working along side officers from the U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP) on all phases of IPR enforcement including reviewing, selecting, and examination of shipments. The FRCS officers met with stakeholders and visited CBP headquarters in Washington, DC where they were exposed to CBP's recordation system and IT solutions. The delegation also visited the National IPR Center and Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) offices in Los Angeles and San Diego for instruction on criminal IPR investigations at the border. Also in Russia, two Prosecutors and Judicial Workshops were held in May 2009, which focused on raising awareness and capacity among the procuracy and judiciary. The program in St. Petersburg was attended by approximately 40 prosecutors and investigators. Topics included: investigations, handling evidence, working with witnesses and right holders, and preparing and prosecuting IPR crimes. The workshop in Moscow was held at the Russian Academy of Justice, and was attended by approximately 120 judges. Topics included: case management, evidence, sentencing, IPR overview and the use of experts.

In Ukraine, the USPTO organized and participated in a two-day Workshop on the Adjudication of Intellectual Property Rights in July 2009 for 25 Ukrainian judges, including judges from the Supreme Court of Ukraine. The Ukrainian judges received training on international standards and obligations for IPR cases and learned best practices from a U.S. Federal Judge and a British Senior Circuit Judge.

The USPTO continued to offer technical assistance in China, with a focus on providing the provinces with capacity-building programs relating to civil, criminal, and border enforcement. The USPTO continued to host visiting delegations from China, both from Beijing and from the provinces. The visitors have included Chinese officials from Guangzhou and Xian, as well as other cities. These officials visited the USPTO to learn about our legal system, the administrative procedures followed by the USPTO, how IPRs are protected and enforced in the United States, and the functions and responsibilities of the USPTO and other U.S. government intellectual property-related agencies. The USPTO hosted a group from China’s National Copyright Administration to discuss software legalization. The USPTO also hosted SIPO delegations on a range of diverse issues, including IP asset management and human resource and financial management issues of patent offices.

Promotional activities (seminars, exhibitions, visits, advertising, etc.)

Public Awareness Campaign

As part of the STOP initiative, the USPTO continued its intensive national public awareness campaign by offering web-based seminars targeting small and medium-sized businesses where participants learned what intellectual property rights are, why they are important, and how to protect and enforce these rights. The USPTO engaged in targeted initiatives with the Minority Business Development Agency (MBDA) (with which USPTO has a Memorandum of Understanding) and the Indian Arts and Crafts Board, Department of Interior, to provide education and training. The USPTO offers programs in a web-based format, on request, that can be tailored to the intellectual property most critical to the requesting organization and that also can include training by hypothetical or business case studies.

Since 2007, the USPTO has operated a STOP Information Booth for the International Music Products Association (NAMM) annual and summer trade shows, providing the USPTO with a unique opportunity to explain the USPTO’s patent and trademark services and to provide general information on the full range of intellectual property. NAMM events include manufacturers, distributors and retailers, from the United States and abroad, many of whom are inventors and creators.

Inventors Assistance Program
In 2009 the Inventors Assistance Program (IAP) conducted a number of outreach efforts throughout the United States. The IAP works with the National Inventors Hall of Fame to promote innovation and education to the independent inventor community through regional and annual inventors’ conferences. The Office coordinates events with grassroots inventor organizations throughout the United States to facilitate and participate in outreach efforts. The IAP continued to establish relationships with science and engineering universities to educate students about the importance of intellectual property, the role the USPTO has in promoting the economy, and possibly encourage future careers at the USPTO. During 2009 the IAP visited 74 universities and colleges providing lectures, seminars and various other programs for students, faculty and staff. The USPTO also conducts workshops and presentations to local schools in Virginia, Maryland and DC.

The USPTO’s IAP conducts on-line chats with the independent inventor community. Education about invention promotion firms and AIPA is an ongoing effort. Assistance is provided through accessibility to the complaint roster from the USPTO homepage, distribution of a scam brochure to the public, and access to a “scam line”. The IAP participated in eight inventor conferences hosted by different inventor groups and in one Independent Inventor Conferences hosted by the USPTO during 2009.

The USPTO has increased its outreach efforts virtually by creating 4 iTunes podcasts and two computer based training modules that provide a basic overview of the patent and trademarks processes.

Studies to identify trends in new technology, e.g., by the use of patent statistics and preparation of monographs

The USPTO maintains the Technology Assessment and Forecast (TAF) database, which allows selected patent bibliographic information to be accessed, retrieved, and analyzed in a variety of ways. Time-series information by country, company, and technology may be obtained and used to identify trends. Specific information, such as patent titles and independent inventor names and addresses, is also available. A variety of prepared TAF database statistical reports containing calendar year data are available to the public.

Many TAF database calendar year statistical reports displaying overall trends by country, state, type of patentee (e.g., corporate, individual, or government), and patentee organization are available free of charge while other prepared reports are available for a nominal charge. Some reports present profiles of patenting activity in selected new and active technologies such as for Semiconductors, and Telecommunications; other reports display trends by specific patenting group (e.g., US universities, US Government). Many profile reports are updated annually, and new reports are added as necessary. In addition, customized patent trend reports may be obtained for a fee, subject to available resources. Many of the TAF database general statistical reports may be accessed at the USPTO Internet Web site; some reports are available only at the Internet Web site. These reports include several produced with support from The National Science Foundation.

Assistance furnished by offices to facilitate the changing over of receiving offices to electronic data carriers for the exchange of patent documents (see also fourth sub-item of item VI, above)

The USPTO provided copies of its granted patent documents on the USAPat on DVD-ROM. USAPat back file, 1790 through 1999, and USAApp on DVD-ROMs were distributed to exchange partners.

Offices currently receiving paper copies of color plant patents will continue to receive them until plant patents are available in color on a suitable electronic media.

The USPTO distributes its Official Gazette for Patents only in electronic format (eOG:P) on its website (see above for details).

IX. Other general information related to the Office that is available on the Internet -- URLs of web pages of the Office’s website that:

See: http://www.uspto.gov

X. Other relevant matters


1.Classification is allotting one or more classification symbols (e.g., IPC symbols) to a patent application, either before or during search and examination, which symbols are then published with the patent application.

2.Preclassification is allotting an initial broad classification symbol (e.g., IPC class or subclass, or administrative unit) to a patent application, using human or automated means for internal administrative purposes (e.g., routing an application to the appropriate examiner).  Usually preclassification is applied by the administration of an office.

3.Reclassification is the reconsideration and usually the replacement of one or more previously allotted classification symbols to a patent document, following a revision and the entry into force of a new version of the Classification system (e.g., the IPC).  The new symbols are available on patent databases.