NET NEWS: PTO to Let Sun Shine on Patents

Science  03 Jul 1998:
Vol. 281, Issue 5373, pp. 7
DOI: 10.1126/science.281.5373.7c

One of the largest federal databases is set to open up for free public use this fall, when the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office (PTO) plans to begin releasing on the Internet all trademark filings and post-1976 patent texts. Secretary of Commerce William Daley announced on 25 June that 20 million pages of PTO data will be posted in parts: next month, texts of trademark applications; in November, trademark images and patent texts; and finally in March 1999, patent images. At present, except for full-text AIDS patents, PTO posts only patent abstracts on its Web site (http://www.uspto.gov/). Although the agency has come under public attack recently for not sharing its files, the PTO claims its critics held little sway. The data release project has been “in the works for a long time,” says spokesperson Brigid Quinn.

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