Summary of the Report

This report is structured in five components: 

  1. A discussion of emerging and potential new uses for IP information.
  2. An overview of currently available IP information sites and approaches, with appendices providing commentary on and analysis of their strengths and weaknesses.
  3. A discussion of emerging trends in searching and accessing IP information of special relevance to Australian stakeholders, together with likely future directions in this field. These trends include:
    • Information retrieval and ranking algorithms
    • International database searches and the languages that they contain
    • Claims parsing
    • Searching some of the types of matter claimed in many patent applications in Australia, such as biological sequences and chemical structures.

    In these two chapters, much of the information from other sites was inferred through a number of iterative searches in several art areas, including mechanical, chemical, biotechnology and nanotechnology.  Due to our detailed knowledge of how our systems work, we have been able to provide exact information on the mechanisms that are used in the CAMBIA BiOS Patent Lens, and the subset of challenges presented with life sciences as exemplary of the underlying information management and technology implications and issues at stake.

  4. There are aspects of search and retrieval of trademarks and plant variety information that present some specific challenges.  Here again, the perspective offered is that the interests of the internal customers, i.e. the examiners, and the external customers and stakeholders (such as business marketers, packaging industries, breeders, customs inspectors, and the public in general) may be different, but understanding of trends in search and retrieval and future plans for implementation of certain improvements relative to these trends may be beneficial to both.
  5. Aspects of plant variety rights including sui generis systems.

This chapter concludes that all three preceding chapters support a recommendation and provide practical advice in a single major direction:  that the most urgent and important step is implementation of a Boolean accessible, scalable search engine capable of doing full-text searches of Australian patent data, with unified searching as soon as possible of Australian data together with the largest patent data sets, namely the US, EPO and PCT data.

Status data on Australian patent applications and those in the same patent family in other jurisdictions should be incorporated as soon as possible in the portions or versions of the Australian database available to the public, so as not to disadvantage Australian inventors and investors.

Support for searches that assist in understanding breadth and interpretation of claims can and should be developed, even in the challenging areas of chemistry and biological sequence data.  While the PCT data already requires a search engine and OCR that can handle Japanese language, eventual incorporation of at least the Chinese and Korean datasets has similar requirements and should be planned.