The Commerce Department's Patent and Trademark Office today announced it will make patent information available on the Internet via the PTO home page at no charge to the public. Simultaneously, PTO will begin to engage the public in a dialogue to gain input into how the agency can maximize the potential of its dissemination programs. PTO will then use this input to prepare an overall dissemination plan.
The new service will be available November 9, 1995 and will provide more than 20 years of searchable patent bibliographic text data, approximately eight gigabytes of information.
Information from the Patent and Trademark Office, one of the nation's premier scientific organizations with several thousand highly trained examiners and over 5 million patents, represents a vast treasure of technological information. This new service reflects the continued efforts by the PTO to use information technology as a tool for sharing and disseminating information with its customers so that this vast treasure can be used to facilitate increased innovation, economic growth, and competitiveness.
Information is already disseminated though a variety of PTO programs administered by the PTO's Office of Information Dissemination. PTO's efforts to use information technology to share and disseminate information is reflected in the establishment of videoconferencing capabilities at the Sunnyvale Center for Innovation, Invention, and Ideas in Sunnyvale, Calif., which allows our customers on the west coast to meet with PTO examiners without travelling to Washington, D.C. Internet access to PTO information is consistent with existing PTO practice which provides access to the same bibliographic data on CD-ROMs, in the Public Search Room, in Patent and Trademark Depository Libraries throughout the nation, and on the PTO bulletin board service. This new service is evidence of PTO's commitment to foster the creation and growth of private sector commercial information resellers. As a result of this new service, individual inventors and innovators in areas not readily accessible by the Patent and Trademark Depository Library system will be able to do limited initial searches to determine whether or not a more extensive search is necessary at a PTDL or through a private source.
PTO believes that the new service will spur the creation and growth of commercial online services to provide full text searching on the Internet.
"Since the inception of the American patent system in 1790, our mission has been to promote the progress of science and the useful arts," PTO Commissioner Bruce Lehman said. "This new service will give our customers a new way to access important government information which will help foster technological innovation and increased economic growth."