Annual Technical Report 2004 on Patent Information Activities submitted by Estonia (SCIT/ATR/PI/2004/EE)


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

Patent protection is granted to all fields of science and technology, including medicinal products. Patent protection is not granted to plant or animal varieties and to methods for treatment of the human or animal body and diagnostic methods practiced on the human or animal body.
The distribution of patent applications filed in 2004 by country of origin was as follows: 67% of the applications came from the member states of the European Union, 20 % from the US, 2 % from Japan and 22% from Estonia.
The number of patent applications has fallen due to Estonia’s accession to the EPO. In 2003 the number dropped by 15 % and in 2004 by 80 % compared with 2001 and 2002.
In 2004 the first 37 translations of European patent specifications were filed with the Estonian Patent Office.
The distribution of patent applications in 2004 according to the International Patent Classification:

A. Human Necessities – 36%
B. Performing Operations; Transport – 11%
C. Chemistry; Metallurgy – 31%
D. Textiles; Paper – 0%
E. Fixed Constructions –5%
F. Mechanical Engineering/Lighting/Heating/Weapons/Blasting – 3%
G. Physics – 5%
H. Electricity – 5%

The Estonian Patent Office examines the compliance of filed patent applications with the formal requirements and carries out substantive examination of the invention, examining the novelty of the invention worldwide, the inventive step and industrial applicability.
Last year two most important reasons for rejection or withdrawal of patent applications were the non-payment of patent application processing fees (76%) and the non-compliancy of the invention with the patentability criteria (11%).
The average duration of the examination of a patent application is 4, 5 years. The patent application is published after 18 months from the filing date or priority date. The registration of the invention in the state register of patents is deemed the grant of a patent. Traditional letters patent is issued to the patentee.
The term of the patent is 20 years from the filing date of the patent application; a renewal fee must be paid for each year of validity.
Since 1 January 2000 medical products and plant protection products enjoy supplementary protection that is valid for 5 years after the end of the term of the patent. In 2004 two applications for supplementary protection of medical and plant protection products were filed; that makes 6 applications altogether since 2000.
Disputes concerning patents are resolved in the Industrial Property Board of Appeal and in court. In 2004 no decisions made by the Estonian Patent Office on patent applications were appealed to the Board of Appeal.

The amendment to the Utility Models Act that entered into force on 1 May 2004 specified the processing of utility model applications and the provisions concerning the transfer of rights.
Applications for the registration of a utility model can be filed for equipment, and for method and substance.
In 2004 applicants from the member states of the European Union filed 96% of the total of utility model applications, 92% of the applications were by Estonian applicants.
The distribution of utility model registration applications in 2004 according to the International Patent Classification:

A. Human Necessities – 22%
B. Performing Operations; Transport – 26%
C. Chemistry; Metallurgy – 0%
D. Textiles; Paper – 0%
E. Fixed Constructions –4%
F. Mechanical Engineering/Lighting/Heating/Weapons/Blasting –8%
G. Physics –15%
H. Electricity – 5%
Unclassified applications – 20%

Only new inventions involving an inventive step and capable of industrial application may be protected by utility model. In the course of processing a utility model registration application, the Estonian Patent Office solely examines the compliance of the application with the formal requirements. The applicant for a utility model registration is responsible for the novelty and industrial applicability of the invention. If the invention is not new or industrially applicable, any interested person may file an action in court for cancelling the registration.
Where the registration application complies with the requirements, the invention is registered in the state register of utility models and the Estonian Patent Office issues a utility model certificate. The average duration of the processing of a utility model registration application is 3 months.
The term of legal protection of a utility model is 4 years from the filing date. After that the term of protection may be renewed for up to 10 years by paying the renewal fee: initially for four years and after that for another 2 years.

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

Official Gazettes

The Estonian Utility Model Gazette – a quarterly, published since October 1994;
The Estonian Patent Gazette – 6 issues annually, published since December 1995;

Since 1 January 2003 the official gazettes of the Estonian Patent Office are available also electronically (in pdf-format, and ):

Techniques as recording, microfilming and photocomposing are not in use.

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

The abstracts of the inventions are not published separately. In the Patent Gazette there are published the most important bibliographic data (including patent classification, excluding abstracts and figurative accessories) of the patent applications laid open to public inspection after the lapse of 18 months from the filing date and bibliographic data (including patent classification, abstracts and figurative accessories) of the granted patents. The first pages of patent specifications contain the abstracts in Estonian and in English.

Applications are classified in accordance with the International Patent Classification.

The Estonian Patent Office has used the Common Software in examination procedures already since 1996. The volume of databases is growing every year. Since 2002 the abstracts and drawings have been computerised in the databases of patents and utility models in addition to the input of bibliographical data. Two additional modules have been created – the module of the supplementary protection of patents and the module for registering the data of PCT/EE applications filed with the receiving office. At the end of 2002 the Patent Office took into use the new version 3.2.2. of Common Software.

Bibliographic data of filed patent applications by the Estonian Patent Office are available for patent examiners in an internal computer database. Full-text processing is not possible.

IV. Search file establishment and upkeep

The collection of patent documents comprises over 48,06 million documents from 26 different countries and 2 organisations (on paper carrier (about 4 million), in microfilm or microfiche form (about 7 million) and increasingly also on CD-ROM/DVD-ROM (about 37,06 million) and official patent gazettes from 34 countries and 2 organizations. During 2004 about 1,86 million new documents, the majority of them being on CD-ROM/DVD-ROM, were added to the collections.
The search files are arranged partly according to the IPC and partly according to the number of patent document. Usually it depends on the data arrangement on data carrier (are the data sorted by the document number or IPC).
The library collection includes also monographs and reference literature on industrial property protection as well as non-patent literature.
The stock of the legal, scientific and reference literature is arranged according to the common principles employed in the libraries when dealing with book or journal files.

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

By the end of 2004 the Estonian Patent Office had 78 modern workplaces which were integrated in the local network and supplied with e-mail and the Internet connection. Today the Information Technology Department administers six servers (those of databases, e-mail, ACSEPTO, web and Intranet, digital document management).

Administrative management systems concerning patent applications/granted patents are based on Common Software. Data concerning legal status, statistics and working order will be processed by specially arranged and programmed sub-files. Incomplete patent data for internal use are available in CS.

VI. Administration of the industrial property office library 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)

The Estonian Patent Library is an independent library financed from the state budget. It is housed in a building from 1903 originally not meant for library use. During non-business hours it remains locked and is controlled by guards. In addition to that an alarm system was installed in 1996.
The Estonian Patent Library provides services to the general public. As the library works in close cooperation with the Estonian Patent Office its main task is to serve the examining and professional staff of the Estonian Patent Office. The library acquires, processes and maintains patent documents, patent gazettes and other patent and non-patent literature. The older part of the collections is on paper, microfilm or microfiche. Now the majority of patent documents are on CD/DVD-ROMs. The library collections are acquired by purchases (the financial resources for it are allocated from the state budget) and by exchange of publications with other industrial property offices under international agreements.
The Estonian Patent Library is the only library that collects and processes patent literature in Estonia. Library participates in the interlibrary lending at the national or the international level. Lending requests are satisfied by e-mail, ordinary mail or by fax.
The patent and trademark gazettes as well as reference literature are kept in the public reading rooms; other materials, i.e. patent documents, are stored in the stack-rooms and are lend at the request of the users. The library also stores the collection of the official gazettes and specifications of the Estonian Patent Office.
The users can carry out searches using CD/DVD-ROMs at 9 workstations.
The following CD/DVD-ROM collections are available:
ESPACE DK (1990-1998)
GLOBALPAT (1971-1998)
German databases:
US databases:
US Patent Search (1975-2004)
US Patents BIB
US Patents Class
US Patents Assist
US Patents & TM Assign
Other countries:
PAJ Patent Abstracts of Japan
Patents of Russia (Full specifications)
Utility models of Russia
The inventions protected in the Republic of Moldova 1993 - 2004

The library has the direct Internet access to the INPADOC databases through Open Patent Services interface. In-house online access is established to the commercial databases Derwent Innovations Index and Questel-Orbit via the Internet connection. These databases are charged on the bases of annual fees, Questel-Orbit is also charged on the bases of usage.
The library offers copying services from paper or microforms . The users can also order printouts of the documents on CD/DVD-ROMs. These services are offered for a moderate price. Library also offers more advanced services – patent information researches. User can claim for an advanced research in his favourite technical field, results will be printed and analysed and added to research report dossier.
Other services are free of charge: in the reading rooms the readers can use reference materials, monographs, other books and periodicals and carry out searches in patent documents on paper.

VII. Matters concerning mutual exchange of patent documentation and information

The Estonian Patent Library maintains patent document and patent bulletin exchanges with 31 patent issuing authorities mainly from Europe, but also from USA and Japan. In 2004 the Estonian Patent Library received 55 titles of patent journals, 23 titles were acquired by purchase and 32 titles by exchange.
We provide the official publications of the Estonian Patent Office [„Eesti Patendileht” („Estonian Patent Gazette”), „Eesti Kaubamärgileht” („Estonian Trade Mark Gazette”), „Eesti Kasuliku Mudeli Leht” („Estonian Utility Model Gazette”), „Eesti Tööstusdisaini Leht” („Estonian Industrial Design Gazette”)] in paper form to all our exchange partners.
In 2004, we purchased 11 titles of CD/DVD-ROM and obtained 28 titles CD/DVD-ROM by means of exchange.

VIII. Other relevant matters concerning education and training in, and promotion of, the use of patent information, including technical assistance to developing countries

Seminar "Intellectual Property for SMES-s" 14.-15.09.2004 (3 participants)

Seminar 19/2003 "The EPO: An inside view for new and future member states – Focus 2003 (2 participants)
PATLIB 2004 (4 participants) : library (4 participants)
EPIDOS 2004 Annual Conference (4 participants): library (3 participants)
Seminar 1/2003 “Search and examination of European patent (1 participant)
Seminar 8/2003 “Search and examination of patent application in biotechnology” (2 participants)
Seminar "Appeal procedure at the EPO" (1 participant)
Symposium „Managing IP rights in a knowledge-based society" (2 partipicants)
Seminar 3/2003 Search and examination in chemistry with focus on pharmaceutical” (1 participant)
Seminar Epoline" (2 partipicants)
Seminar 7/2003 “Search and examination of patent application in physics, electricity and mechanics” (1 participant)
Seminar 9/2003 “Search and examination of PCT applications” (2 participants)
Seminar „Searches of IP information from Internet and compact disks” (1 participant)
Seminar SE5b/2004 "Access to IP information and documentation on the Internet and on CD-ROM: library (1 participant) 21.06.-25.06.2004.
Public Symposium on Innovation Support 20.09.2004 21.09.2004: library (4 participants)

Seminar ”Protection of IP ” 30.11.- 01.12. 2004 OHIM, TAIEX, Estonian Chamber of Commerce and industry (2 participants)


Language courses
1. Advanced English language learning courses (6 participants)
2. French language learning courses (19 participants)
3. Finnish language learning cources (1 participant)
4. Advanced computer courses (66 participants)
5. The Estonian Patent Office took part of the fair “Intellektika 2004”, act with the exhibition
6. A seminar for SMEs in Tallinn on intellectual property protection, 14–15. Sept, in cooperation with WIPO and the Technical Assistance Information Exchange Office (TAIEX)
7. A symposium on innovation support, 20–21. Sept, in cooperation with EPO

Libraries related:

1. Training course „Modern libraries in Finland” 13.05.2003 Helsinki (1 participant)
2. Training course „Modern library” 28.06.-05.07.2003 Germany (1 participant)
3. Seminar “Digital library and it’s user” 15.10.2003 Tallinn, (1 participant)

Customer training activities of the Estonian Patent Library in 2004.

In 2002, the Estonian Patent Library opened a special computerized public room for industrial property information training courses. Also IP information users can work online here individually.
In 2002 the Estonian Patent Library began with special training courses for entrepreneurs, named “Use of the industrial property information in the product development” and included 30 hours.
In 2004 4 training courses concerning IP information were carried out among Estonian Inventors Association, 4 training courses among entrepreneurs, patent attorneys, librarians of public libraries, 7 one-day training courses among students. The subject matter of these courses is constantly revised and modified.
In 2004 the Estonian Patent Library also started a special one-day training course on industrial design.
The aim of these training days (length up to one day) and training courses (length up to 5 days) is to highlight the impact of the use of information concerning patents, trademarks and industrial designs and they are arranged in the library or in centres of enterpreneurship.

IX. 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.