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May 21, 2009

Easing the Patent Processing Bottleneck

Patents are recognized as a key protection for the intellectual property rights of inventors and innovators. Unfortunately, processing patents has become increasingly time-consuming and complex. In most nations, the patent process requires an inventor or innovator to submit a patent application which includes a detailed technical specification. The patent office then puts the patent into a 'pending' state while it investigates whether the invention is worthy of a patent.

Due to the growth in patent applications around the world, most patent offices are suffering under the strain of a huge backlog of applications to be processed. In 2005, the Japanese office had a backlog of 750,000 applications, the U.S. had 600,000, and European Patent Office (EPO) had 285,000.

EPO's president, Alison Brimelow, has been quoted as saying: "Huge backlogs change the nature of the patenting system and create ambiguities which can be exploited in ways unforeseen by those who established the patent system."

In response, the European Union has funded a project called PATExpert which uses semantic web technology. PATExpert is a multimedia content representation system for the retrieval, classification and generation of concise parent information. The system supports multiple languages and provides tools to assess patent material. The system has been demonstrated and the probable next step is commercialization for general use.

Posted by BlogAuthor1 at May 21, 2009 1:34 AM
category: Intellectual Property Law

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