June 25, 1998
Press Release, 98-12
USPTO to Make Comprehensive Patent and Trademark Data Available Free on the Internet
WASHINGTON - The Clinton administration will soon make available over 20 million pages of patent and trademark information free to the public on the Internet as part of its initiative to make government more efficient and more responsive to the public, Commerce Secretary William M. Daley announced today.
Daley said the Commerce Department's Patent and Trademark Office's new database, the largest electronic library of patent and trademark data to be made available free on the Internet, will be available to the public by the end of this year. Trademark text will be available in August, with trademark images and patent text to follow in November, Daley said.
"This electronic database is one of the largest Web offerings by a government agency. By providing better access to information on intellectual property, innovation, and investment, we are achieving our goal of helping electronic commerce become a strong contributor to growth and jobs," Daley said.
"It will bring greater efficiency to issuing quality patents, registering quality trademarks and help strengthen protection of intellectual property that is of paramount importance to inventors, businesses and the public," Daley said.
Vice President Al Gore hailed the new PTO database as a "prime example of the success of the administration's policy of reinventing government to make it more responsive to the needs of its most important customer—the public."
"The ability of the PTO to conduct business effectively is inextricably tied to technological progress and economic growth in the United States," Patent and Trademark Commissioner Bruce Lehman said in describing PTO's new database in a speech prepared for delivery to the American Bar Association in Williamsburg, Va.
PTO will make the full text of the 2 million patents dating back to 1976 and the text and images of 800,000 trademarks and 300,000 pending registrations from the late 1800s to the present available free to the public on the Internet.
Patent images that correlate to the electronic text will be available on-line free by March of next year and users will be able to print the images at screen resolution at no cost using a normal browser print function, PTO said. Users will also be able to order on-line high quality copies for electronic delivery.
Lehman described the new database as PTO's "third digital information wave," In 1994, PTO offered free Internet access to its AIDS Patents database, offering the full text, searchable by key word, and document images for over half of the AIDS research-related patents. This was followed in 1995 by a second wave of digital patent data with the posting to PTO's Web site of 20 years of patent bibliographic data and abstracts from over 2 million patents.
President Clinton, in outlining the government's role in fostering use of the Internet last July, gave the Commerce Department the leading role in facilitating electronic commerce. Daley has been working to promote public confidence in the Internet by working with the private sector to establish, among other things, clear and effective copyright protection, as well as patent and trademark safeguards.
Further information on the PTO patent and trademark database can be obtained at the following Web sites: The Patent and Trademark Office at http://www.uspto.gov/ and the Office of Public Affairs, Department of Commerce at http://www.doc.gov/opa/.