Patent legal status data are an important component of patent information.
Such data are used to determine whether:
As such, they play an essential role in, e.g., technology transfer since they answer the question which technology is still protected and where, or whether it will soon become freely available to the public (described as entry into “the public domain” in expert terms).
Legal status data need to be up-to-date to allow correct conclusions. However, given that the legal status of patents is linked to legal events or actions, the status changes over time and therefore poses particular problems to the availability and reliability of up-to-date information.
WIPO has the goal to narrow a knowledge gap in the world and to develop an enabling infrastructure for promoting technology transfer through effective use of patent information. WIPO has therefore launched activities for improving worldwide availability, reliability and comparability of patent legal status data, e.g. to further develop patent legal status databases and widen the participation of countries in data sharing.
In the context of WIPO Development Agenda project Intellectual Property and the Public Domain, WIPO has prepared a study on availability, reliability and comparability of patent legal status data (“feasibility study”). It is planned to present the results of this study to the session of the Committee on Development and Intellectual Property in fall 2011.
The most prominent and direct sources of legal status information are national patent registers or national patent gazettes or bulletins. In order to investigate the availability of such data for the above study, WIPO has issued Questionnaire C.N 3159 to its member Offices: Circular letter and questionnaire.
Replies from 87 offices have been received and evaluated: