17 November 2010

IP Australia Announces Upcoming Launch of Full Text Patent Searching

In a notice sent on 3 November 2010 to subscribers of its Patent Search mailing list, IP Australia has annouced the forthcoming launch of full text searching for Australian patent specifications.

Up until now, the databases provided by IP Australia have included electronic specifications dating back to 1998.  These specifications have not been full-text searchable.

According to the recent announcement:

Full text searching will be initially launched in a beta environment by the end of 2010. The added functionality will provide customers the ability to conduct a text search of open to public inspection (OPI) Australian patent specifications back to 1904. ...
The initial release of the text searching capability will include approximately 50% of the full collection. Extra specifications will be added progressively with the full collection planned to be available for searching by the end of March 2011.
While IP Australia has sometimes been accused in the past of lagging behind its peers in other jurisdictions, providing full text searching of over 100 years of patent publications is a great leap forward which will make the Australian office a world leader.  We note that the USPTO search system, for example, provides full text only back to 1976, with users being forced to rely upon private providers, such as Google patents, to search within earlier documents.  However, the content of such freely-available search services inevitably lags behind the PTO.

The enhanced text search facilities of the AusPat system will bring IP Australia a significant step closer to its goal of delivering an integrated "one-stop-shop" for Australian patent searching.

Further information is available from the Patent Search Strategy web page.


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