Every year, the Patent
Information Users Group conference features well-known experts on patent
information for technology research, legal research, patent licensing, and
related activities. In addition to the three-day technical sessions, it
includes in-depth workshops on various patent topics and products.
The conference attendees are mostly scientific and technical professionals with
an interest in patents. In recent years, the conference drew
320-330 attendees from Australia, Austria, Brazil, Canada, China, Denmark,
France, Germany, India, Israel, Italy, Japan, Netherlands, the Russian
Federation, Singapore, South Africa, South Korea, Sweden, Switzerland, the
United Kingdom and the United States. It is expected that 400 attendees will
attend in 2011.
The conference theme for 2011 is
"Best Practices Beyond Free-text: The Value of Indexing and Classification when
Searching and Analyzing Patents." This topic is becoming increasingly
important, as patent offices worldwide publish ever increasing numbers of
patents. The patent offices are not only publishing larger numbers
of patents, but they are also constantly implementing other changes Marla
Grossman, Executive Director for the Coalition for Patent and Trademark
Information Dissemination (an organization in which Reed Elsevier is a member),
spoke on "Potential Changes on the Horizon in US Patent Law and at the US
Patent Office". She noted that the new Chairman of the Judiciary
Committee in Congress's House of Representatives has indicated that patent law
reform will be one of his top priorities this year. She also highlighted
that the patent information user community will be impacted by issues such as
post grant review and re-examination, supplemental examinations, third party
submission of prior art and prior public availability.
Next, Dr. Marti Hearst, Chief IT
Strategist at the USPTO, spoke on "Introducing User-Centered Design at the
USPTO for Modernization of the Patent Examination IT System". This
project is the famous "Patents End-to-End project." Its goal is to
reengineer the processes and the infrastructure used in patent examination.
It is making use of User-Centered Design, which is a new
concept to the USPTO. Dr. Hearst's team is creating a new
patent examiners' user interface using information from interviews, focus
groups, and surveys from hundreds of examiners.
Another highlight of Monday's
sessions was the presentation by Cindy Poulos, Vice President of Product
Management, IP Solutions, Thomson Reuters. Ms. Poulos spoke on the
technology available in Thomson's Innovation product that allows the user to
add his own indexing. She noted that classification and
indexing appears in patents that are published by the patent offices. The
patent offices use the International Patent Classification system (IPC) and the
classification systems from the national offices (such as the US Class) and
proprietary solutions such as DWPI Manual Codes. She noted that
these are very important, but they do not have the context of how
the technology described within patents is relevant to the searcher's
organization. She described how searchers can use their own
indexing and classification system by adding as many as 100 fields of data to
their search results. This is termed "custom fields". It
improves the quality of research by allowing internal subject matter experts to
evaluate and add internal categorizations to research results.
Tomorrow's sessions will focus
on innovations in indexing and classification by the patent offices. It
will be great to hear the presentations by representatives from the US Patent
Office and the European Patent Office!
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