The Patent Full-Text Database contains hyperlinks from the [Images] button at the top of each full-text document display to the full-page images of each page of each patent in the database. New full-page images are normally available each issue day (Tuesday of each week).
PTO's full-page images, nearly four terabytes overall, are stored and delivered at full 300 dots per inch (d.p.i.) resolution in an image file format called "TIFF," using CCITT Group 4 compression. This is the format which is required by the international standards to which all patent offices must conform. TIFF is also the most used lossless image format in the world. Unfortunately, due to the volume of the image data, available funding, and other technical considerations, PTO cannot convert these images to a format more popular on the Web either permanently or by converting on-the-fly as they are delivered.
As a result, you must install and use a browser plug-in -- similar to those required to access Adobe® PDF files, RealPlayer®, or Macromedia Flash® files -- on your workstation in order to view these files directly. An alternative method is to use third-party software or services to view these images either directly or after conversion to another format, such as Adobe® PDF.
The plug-in you use cannot be just any TIFF image plug-in. It must be able to specifically display TIFF files using ITU T.6 or CCITT Group 4 (G4) compression.
The only free, unlimited time TIFF plug-ins offering full-size, unimpeded patent viewing and printing unimpeded by any advertising on Windows® x86 PCs of which we are aware are:
For the Apple
Macintosh®, Apple's freely distributed Quicktime version
4.1 or later works with our images for pre-Safari Macintosh, but does not provide direct printing
capability. It is available from the Apple Web site at
Please visit http://www.apple.com/software/ and type "patent" to locate plug-ins for recent versions of Macintosh browsers
For Linux®, a plug-in called "Plugger" works nicely with Netscape Communicator®. It is available at http://fredrik.hubbe.net/plugger.html
PTO cannot and will not provide direct user support for TIFF image display or printing beyond the provision of hyperlinks to known suitable free TIFF browser plug-ins.
Full-page images can be accessed from each patent's full-text display by clicking on the [Images] button at the top of the patent full-text display page. If you have a properly installed G4 TIFF image viewer or plug-in, this will bring up the full-page image of the first page of the patent along with navigation buttons for retrieving the other pages of the document. These buttons include buttons for the identifiable sections of each patent: Front Page, Drawings, Specifications, Claims, Certificates of Correction (if any), and Reexaminations (if any).