Workstations that will allow patent examiners to conduct electronic patent searches of European Patent Office (EPO) and the Japanese Patent Office (JPO) databases have been installed in the United States Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO), the Commerce Department announced today.
"This exchange of staff and equipment will expand our understanding of each other's search systems and strategies and build a foundation for additional work-sharing opportunities," said Bruce Lehman, Commissioner of Patents and Trademarks. "The USPTO looks forward to incorporating the results of this exchange into its on-going reengineering endeavor," Lehman continued.
As part of a continuing Trilateral exchange of information and equipment between the American, European, and Japanese patent offices, these workstations will be used by USPTO examiners to search for prior art and make a determination of patentability for new inventions.
The EPO workstation, EPOQUE II, was installed in August 1995. USPTO staff were trained by EPO staff to search databases that include patents from its member countries throughout most of western Europe, as well as U.S. patents.
Two JPO F-term workstations were installed and training was begun in March 1996. Since all of the screen displays are in Japanese, USPTO translators are being trained to conduct searches on behalf of patent examiners. These searches will be conducted at night because of the time difference between the two countries.
Later this year, the latest version of USPTO's image workstations will be installed at the EPO and JPO for use by their examiners.