Rules governing what is “patentable” vary
slightly from one country to another.
In Europe,biological material isolated from its natural environment or
produced by a technical process may be the subject of invention even if it
previously occurred in nature.However, the human body or human genes cannot be patented.Computer program products could be
patentable if they resulted in additional technical effects, which went
beyond the “normal” physical interaction between software and hardware
associated with running the program.
In the USA, one can patent a computer program,
an animal and a variety of plants.This is not so in other countries, although alternative protection
may be obtained in some cases through Registered Designs or the laws of
As an alternative to filing multiple
applications at individual country patent offices, applications seeking
international coverage may make an initial single filing to one or both of
World Intellectual Property Organization (WIPO)
Publishes unexamined application, initiates
search report, and submits application and search report to national
offices of the designated countries.Does not grant patents.
European Patent Office (EPO)
Examines and issues patents.EPO granted patent is valid in
All of the published patent applications from
various countries and the subsequently granted patents on an invention are
commonly referred to as patent equivalents. Bear in mind, they are not true
authority may have different regulations for filing and a different
interpretation of the invention.
Each group of patent equivalents make up a
patent family.Members of a
closely-related patent family have a common priority application number and
These family members are usually included in a
single record in the online database.
Most patent-issuing authorities issue more than
one document for a patent. These sequential documents often keep the same
number, so they are distinguished by adding a letter immediately after the
These codes are also given a numerical suffix to
indicate the number of times the specification was published (e.g. A1, B2,
As many applications reach the acceptance stage
before the examined document is published (18 months after filing), the 2nd
publication stage is avoided, and the granted patent document is given the
code C(=granted status)2(=second publication).
INPADOC (INternational PAtent DOcumentation
Center) contains the bibliographic and family data of patent documents and
utility models of 69 patent issuing organizations including the European
Patent Office and the World Intellectual Property Organization (WIPO). In
addition, the legal status data of 35 patent issuing organizations are
1968 to the present for patent records
1978 to the present for legal status
More than 32.6 million records including
national patent families (11/01)
More than 53.5 million legal status data in
about 10 million records (11/01)
Updated weekly with about 40,000 citations and
30,000 legal status data
Available commercially. Expensive to display
legal status info.
Chemical Abstracts is a comprehensive database
for chemistry and chemical engineering.Chemical Abstracts Service has covered patents since the first issue
of Chemical Abstracts was published in 1907.The first issue of CA contained 181 patent abstracts, and
patent abstracts made up over 30% of all the abstracts published in volume
1 of CA.Patents now comprise about
18% of the 700,000 abstracts added annually.
Patents selected from INPADOC.Only basic patents are incorporated into
In SciFinder Scholar, search by chemical
substance, research topic, or company.Refine search by limiting results to document type “patent.”