LONDON European Union Member States are promoting the creation of an EU-wide patenting system called 'Community Patent' that would allow individuals and enterprises to obtain a unitary patent common to all.
Backed with 2.5 million euros in funding, the PatExpert ('Advanced patent document processing techniques') project is targeted the development of a functioning service and a change in the paradigm currently being followed for patent processing. The project was financed through the Information Society Technologies Thematic area of the Sixth Framework Programme (FP6).
Project partner, Brügmann Software (Papenburg, Germany) is about to incorporate some of the PatExpert technologies into its patent management product, PatOrg.
PatExpert succeeded in establishing a multimedia content representation system for the retrieval, classification and multilingual production of concise patent information. The project partners also assessed and visualised patent material to meet the demands of all users including inventors and patent examiners.
“The greatest success of PatExpert has been to initiate the change of the paradigm currently followed in patent processing services, from textual to semantic,” said project leader, Professor Leo Wanner, of Universitat Pompeu Fabra in Spain.
“The implications of the use of semantic technologies in the patent domain are far-reaching. Semantic technologies used in PatExpert facilitate access to the contents of patent documentation and, thus, improve the accuracy of search, analysis and valuing', among others.”
According to Professor Wanner, PatExpert can be commercialised, and any of its individual technologies can also form either a stand-alone commercial application or be incorporated into other patent processing services.
The fundamental problem in patent processing is the workload. The application process involves the 'technical specification' (i.e. detailing the technical features of the invention), the 'patent prosecution' (i.e. the interaction between the patent office and the application) and the 'patent pending' status, where inventions await approval. A patent is granted when the application complies with the patent office's laws and the invention is not already patented.
The European Patent Office (EPO) has prepared a search report listing all the documents available to the EPO that could play a key role in evaluating the 'novelty and inventiveness' of the patent applications.
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