Annual Technical Report 2004 on Patent Information Activities submitted by Trinidad and Tobago (SCIT/ATR/PI/2004/TT)


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

The total number of patent applications in 2004 amounted to 208. The vast majority of these were filed by non-nationals and of those 91% entered via the Patent Cooperation Treaty. The number of granted patents was the highest in the chemical industry followed by the oil & gas and pharmaceutical industries. The low number of grants (47) was due to a delay in the publication of nearly forty other notices at one of the two printeries used. The notices have since been rescheduled for publication in a daily newspaper, which provides a prompt and reliable service. It should be noted that other limiting factors to the number of grants issued include the speed of response by applicants to notices of payment of the search and examination fees, which initiates examination. One application was filed for a utility certificate and that was by a national.

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

No major change in patents as the composition of patent filings continued to reflect the industrial and marketing priorities of the major industries within the country in the area of petroleum and natural gas exploration, production, refinement, transportation and related downstream secondary and tertiary products. However, as public education increases, the use of utility certificates by entrepreneurs and individual inventors will yield a greater variety of technologies.

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 Intellectual Property Office of Trinidad and Tobago has changed its publication method to limit publication only in a widely read newspaper only upon grant. There is no early or 18 month publication as with the PCT and some other countries. These publications contain bibliographic information, the abstract and one representative drawing where possible. The Office will also provide bibliographic information on applications upon request but minus abstracts and drawings. Draft and certified paper copies of granted patents can also be ordered.

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

The Office conducts public education exercises with visits to schools, businesses, institutions and interest groups in an attempt to promulgate the value and use of patent technical information. Officers also deal with individual requests as they arise. The Office is establishing a technical library to provide public access to Internet based patent databases and patent information contained on CD and DVD ROMs such as the Espace World™ publications.

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

The present intellectual property and other legislation require that the main records be submitted and stored on paper. However the trademark and patent records and administration are handled by an automated system and these databases are administered on an internal server with a tape backup. Patent and non-patent information from the PCT publications, US Patent and Trademark Office, Espace World and Access, French Patents Bref and Japanese patent abstracts are contained on optical disks.

Word processing and office automation

The Office is fully computerised with nearly every member of the 38-member staff having access to PCs. It is a mixed network with Microsoft Windows™ NT and 2000 servers with Microsoft Windows™ 2000 and XP Professional clients. The main office productivity software is Microsoft Office™ 2000. The trademark and patent databases are Oracle™ based and the automation features accessible by members of staff but not the public as yet.

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

Abstracting, reviewing, translating

In 2004 99% of the applications entering Trinidad and Tobago were equivalents of foreign filings and of those 91% arrived via the Patent Cooperation Treaty for national phase entry.

The Patents Act 1996 requires that applications be filed in English or certified translations will need to be furnished.

Classification and reclassification 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)

Most of the applications arrive already abstracted and classified according to the International Patent Classification system. Classifications in the latest (7th) edition of the IPC by the Office would have been done for local applications and for older patents being entered into the database.

Bibliographic data and full-text processing for search purposes

Bibliographic data and abstracts are entered into the database as searchable fields. The internal patent database is available only to staff at present. The database does have an Internet module for on-line searching via the internally hosted website but it is not yet offered to the public.

IV. Search file establishment and upkeep

File building

Presently there is a single paper file per application and this is available only to staff for searching purposes. Searches can be conducted by members of the public on patent registers and copies of filed documents for granted patents can also be subsequently ordered. Typically these filed documents exclude and certificates on file.

The internal patent database is available only to staff at present. The database does have an Internet module for on-line searching via the internally hosted website but it is not yet offered to the public.

Storage, including mass storage media

The system legally recognises only paper documents and wet signatures so paper records must be kept. However the contents of applications are entered into the database and backed up on tape drives.

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

In-house systems (online/offline)

The internal patent database is available only to staff at present. The database does have an Internet module for on-line searching via the internally hosted website but it is not yet offered to the public.

External databases

The patent examiners make extensive use of external on-line patent databases (US, Canadian, European, Japanese and Australian) and pharmaceutical monographs. They also have access via jukebox to the collection of optical disks of PCT, USPTO, JPO and BREF applications.

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

Paper Registers are generated after publication and give an enforceable date to the grant. The registers recite the entire legal status, assignments and licenses pertaining to the patent. Statistics are compiled for annual reports and to track trends in applications and grants. External statistics are occasionally tracked.

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

The PC clients are a mixture of Intel-based brand name and generic machines from 400MHz to 3.0GHz machines running Microsoft Windows™ 2000 and XP Professional operating systems. The network stems from a group of low-end servers running Microsoft Windows™ NT and 2000 Server connected via switches and hubs in a 10/100 Cat. 5e network. The network also operates behind a firewall.

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)

Planning, administration, automation, security, buildings

The Intellectual Property Office is located on an entire floor within a building housing other departments of the Ministry. The vault is on the ground floor next to another vault but the vault area is not shared. The operations of the Intellectual Property Office are situated “behind” the front desk or receiving office. From there inquiries for further information are funneled and persons directed to relevant members of staff or library facilities for searches of the registers to be conducted. Materials from the vault are requested by members of staff for the public to use. By and large the office is laid out to limit the unnecessary penetration by members of the public into the heart of the operations to minimize their possible contact with confidential case files and the data servers. Besides security personnel in the ground lobby, there are also security personnel on the Office floor. The entire building has 24/7 security. The automated system and the web servers are hosted in-house to retain control and security of the physical infrastructure.

Collecting, acquisitions, preparation

Searches of the registers are usually conducted mainly by patent attorneys, agents and their personnel and members of the public to a lesser extent. The patent agents and companies also submit written requests for state of the art searches and infringement checks. These searches are conducted by the professional staff (patent examiners, technical information specialist). The professional and technical staff also prepare publication notices for delivery to the publishers and also prepare the certificates for the published patents and generate the registers.

Collection management, preservation

Physical documents are housed in an air-conditioned vault when not in use by staff. Patents are arranged according to application number but specially tagged to indicate grant. Electronic data is periodically backed up on a tape drive.

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

Technical documents and case files do not leave the custody of the Intellectual Property Office for public lending or otherwise.

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)

A technical library was established in the Intellectual Property Office primarily to provide access to patent technical information in on-line databases and the CD and DVD-ROM collections loaded into a jukebox and procedural information on plant breeders’ rights. Some technical information is also available on the web site at

VII. Matters concerning mutual exchange of patent documentation and information

Medium used for exchange of priority documents

Priority documents are exchanged upon request and in paper format only.

Medium allowed for filing applications

Applications must be filed in paper.

Implementation of the Statement of Principles Concerning the Changeover to Electronic Data Carriers for the Exchange of Patent Documents (please provide a status report on the extent to which your Office has changed over to electronic data carriers for the exchange of patent documents)

d. While the Intellectual Property Office supports the notion of electronic filing, significant changes will have to be made to several other pieces of legislation affecting the validity of electronic documents, electronic signatures and what constitutes evidence, to name a few. However, the Office is moving in anticipation of such changes with the establishment of the electronic databases and its participation in the formulation of the National Information Communication and Technology Plan which embraces all of those issues for the wider public.

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

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

Individual consultations are conducted in the use and value of patent information. Also consultants, when invited to conduct staff training, are also invited to share their expertise with the legal, scientific and business community in the use of patent information. This usually occurs about twice per year.

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

The Trinidad and Tobago Intellectual Property Office, because of its level of development, hosts, in an on-going fashion, many study visits by personnel from other developing countries. Also its professional and technical staff are frequently asked by WIPO to conduct missions to the other countries in the Caribbean to deal with needs assessment, trademarks, PCT and automation issues.

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

Every year about 4 major national and/or regional activities are hosted, often in conjunction with WIPO. The weeks preceding World Intellectual Property Day are used to host several activities culminating in an open house display at the Office. Several other smaller consultations are hosted in-house for interest groups and other stakeholders. Articles produced by the staff are also published in the press and trade publications and radio and television appearances are occasionally made by the staff.

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

Present WIPO study on an IP Energy Audit to view the use of IP in the very important energy sector of Trinidad and Tobago.

Informal technology surveys are conducted to gather illustrations for sharing with entrepreneurs and at seminars.

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.