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      DATE: July 8, 1997



First Session
Geneva, July 14 to 18, 1997

Text approved by the PCIPI/MI

Memorandum prepared by the International Bureau

At its twentyfirst session held in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil, from June 30 to July 4, 1997, the ad hoc Working Group on the Management of Industrial Property Information (PCIPI/MI) of the WIPO Permanent Committee on Industrial Property Information (PCIPI) agreed on the text of a draft recommendation as representing the desirable longterm policy of the PCIPI, and agreed to recommend the adoption of the recommendation by the PCIPI Executive Coordination Committee in November 1997.

The following members of the said Working Group were represented at the session: Brazil, Canada, Colombia, Côte d'Ivoire, Croatia, Cuba, Czech Republic, Denmark, Egypt, Finland, France, Georgia, Hungary, Indonesia, Japan, Mexico, Netherlands, Norway, Philippines, Portugal, Russian Federation, Slovenia, Spain, Sweden, Switzerland, Ukraine, United Kingdom, United States of America, Uruguay and the European Patent Office (EPO) (30).

The said draft recommendation (Annex III of document PCIPI/MI/XXI/2) is reproduced in the annex of the present document.



text approved by the PCIPI/MI at its twenty-first session

1. Goals

Recognizing the agreed commitment by the members of the PCIPI to the changeover from the use of paper to electronic data carriers for the exchange of patent information and the opportunities that the availability of such information in electronic format combined with the use of the emerging Internet technologies provide, accordingly the PCIPI should, as a long-term policy, establish as a goal the creation and use of Industrial Property Digital Libraries (IPDLs) by industrial property offices and the International Bureau. Such IPDLs would provide the opportunity for the dissemination and sharing of industrial property information resources and in this way lead to a more efficient and effective industrial property system by the elimination of duplicative work and by information dissemination cost reduction.

A digital library is an organized collection of electronic information disseminated to a designated community (e.g., the industrial property office community) through network technologies providing easy accessibility (such as the Internet environment). Digital libraries can be implemented in open (public Internet), closed (a private Intranet) or hybrid (secure Extranet) network environments. In closed or hybrid implementations, a very high degree of security and authenticity can be maintained. Industrial Property Digital Libraries would be an implementation of this concept and as envisaged would be supported by adopting a secure Intranet/Extranet approach.

While full implementation of this concept in all WIPO member States may not be achievable until the year 2005, implementation in the maximum possible number of offices should begin as soon as possible using the common concept of the IPDL on a step-by-step basis.

Implementation should be in accord with the implementation plan set forth in Section 8, below, and a statement of principles which would define the terms and conditions to apply and would cover the areas outlined below.

2. Contents of the Industrial Property Digital Libraries (IPDLs)

The contents of IPDLs would be comprised of a variety of types of data including some or all of the following:

3. Supporting Infrastructure

The infrastructure to support the IPDLs should consist of global secure high band-width networks between industrial property offices participating in the IPDL project, and a local office infrastructure supported by modern information technologies including access to the network. The network should be based upon using widely adopted Internet technologies including network communications protocols, security mechanisms and information management and access systems. Participating offices should follow consistent, approved practices for creating and maintaining records in the databases that are shared through the network.

The network should be managed by an appropriate entity or entities that can provide the necessary support services such as domain name services, certificate authority services, data backup, routing, etc.

4. Participation

All industrial property offices should be eligible to participate.

Offices may participate in either or both of the following roles:

(i) Establishing and maintaining databases of information that are made accessible to other network participants:

To fulfill the role of uploading their industrial property data to the IPDLs, offices will need to provide their data in electronic format, the type and content of the data being dependent on the project phase. This will require the necessary data capture systems to be in place (electronic filing and/or scanning/OCR facilities) to provide the initial backfile of data and ensure regular update of the libraries or alternatively the use of regional or intergovernmental facilities to provide this function;

(ii) Access to and use of the global IPDL data:

The role of providing access to and use of the global IPDL will require the availability of the necessary communications hardware and software to access and use the IPDL data. The possibility of assistance in the procurement and installation of such facilities for offices which fulfill role (i) could be one of the benefits of participation (see "Resourcing").

5. International Rules and Common Policy (Standards, Legal and Policy Issues)

International Policy and Rules would govern the uploading of, access to and use of the data stored in the IPDLs.

International standards regarding data processing such as those for capturing, storage, communications and publication of data should be determined. Standards relating to open systems and supported by commercially available products should be preferred. Data created or captured through electronic filing should be output in an internationally agreed common data format. A common data format for the exchange of certified records (e.g., priority documents) should also be defined.

Legal issues concerning data transmission via the network system (e.g., electronic signature, authentication, security, etc.) should be addressed. These issues should also be considered from the perspective of meeting treaty obligations concerning certification of records provided to other offices.

A common approach to information dissemination policy, in particular, regarding data sale to commercial vendors, pricing policy, downloading and data access policy should be explored so that the policy of each office is coordinated at least to an extent that the IPDLs can be successfully implemented and run.

6. Resourcing

As funding for this project is of great importance, the resources necessary for the implementation (human, technological and financial), the institutional arrangements (international body to coordinate the project) and the provision of training and technical assistance should be provided and a program implemented by an appropriate WIPO body. In this regard, projects supported by international cooperation such as infrastructure provision, training material on the Internet and the use of country level help desks and regional roving technical advisers should be developed.

7. Information Use (for Search, Document Delivery, etc.)

International efforts should aim to develop an effective and efficient method to use the IPDLs (e.g., enhanced search tools more relevant to a digital library environment). IPDL access should be determined to provide the means for the electronic ordering of IP documents whether such documentation is then available for immediate downloading from the site or subsequent background recovery and later transmission.

8. Implementation Plan

The timetable for the IPDLs should allow for a progressive and step-by-step implementation in terms of each of the following:

The driving force for creating the IPDLs and the global network should come from participating offices. Responsibilities for monitoring and coordinating activities within IP offices as appropriate to achieve the desired goal would rest with WIPO to ensure concerted international action.

A Working Methodology drawing as appropriate on the initiation of pilot projects, etc., should be determined. One of the first steps in the implementation plan should include the establishment of:

(i) a world technical inventory concerning each office's and WIPO's infrastructure and facilities (including information about the cost of investment and the scale of industrial property activity supported), and

(ii) a listing of the types of data that each office and WIPO could provide and the proposed means of doing this.

9. Transitional Arrangements

Those offices having created and maintained electronic data on CD-ROM or other off-line carriers may continue to use such media for the purposes of exchange whilst planning and implementing their IPDL participation. During the transitional period, until technological developments make possible the availability of secured high band-width networks in many countries and the possible on-line storage of all data, international cooperation should be planned and undertaken to take account of the need to avoid any disruption to current inter-office exchanges.

[Appendix follows]

[1] Some thoughts on the phasing of data content are detailed in the attached Appendix.