Feeling Good: The EPO discounts fees for micro-entities
The European Patent Office has announced a new scheme that reduces fees for ‘micro-entities’.
You can now access European patent data in a new, user-friendly format on Google Patents.
For many years anyone wishing to undertake searches of the full text of European patents has had to use commercial, and often expensive, patent searching software, or the European Patent Office’s own Espacenet search database. Since August 2012 Google has started to host European Patent data on its Google Patents service in a new, user-friendly format which allows quick viewing of drawings and quick alternating between the English, French and German versions of the European patent or patent application. There are also quick links to the patents on the EPO patent register and Espacenet. For now it is only possible to search for European Patents by typing in the full URL of patent, such as: http://www.google.com/patents/EP1280414B1, but over the coming months, Google Patents will crawl and index the EPO databases to enable users to search for European Patents in the same way they can currently search for US patents. This will make Google Patents a useful, cost-free tool for simple full text patent searching of both US and European Patents.
Not content with introducing European Patent data searching, Google Patents has also introduced a feature called “Prior Art Finder”, which enables a user to quickly search for prior art against a patent they have located. By simply clicking on a “Find Prior Art” button, the search engine will crawl through Google Patents, Google Scholar, Google Books and the web, to locate potential prior art containing a list of keywords generated by Google Patents (keywords can also be added by the user).
Neither feature is fully functional yet, but they do add to the tools available to a user for basic searching and while they should not be used to replace comprehensive and business- critical patent searching , including freedom-to-operate, patentability and patent validity searches, they will potentially help in quick “first check” searching and as a supplement to other search techniques.
More information can be found at: http://googleresearch.blogspot.co.uk/#!/2012/08/improving-google-patents-with-european.html
For all your patent searching queries, please contact your usual Wilson Gunn attorney.