Report:MicroPatent PatentWeb/Data Coverage/Patent Coverage/Legal Status Information
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Legal Status Information
MicroPatent Patentweb consists of two parts: PatSearch FullText, which is discussed in this article, and a now-defunct bibliographic and front page file called MPI-INPADOC Plus. Legal status information can be available through a subscription to PatSearch FullText, for a certain extra amount per year. In PatSearch FullText, this data may only be accessed and viewed. (In contrast, with a subscription to the former product MPI-INPADOC Plus, the legal status data could be searched.)
MicroPatent maintains a complex database of legal status information, which it constructs through a number of sources in addition to the EPO’s INPADOC file. The status information is taken primarily from the INPADOC Legal Status files produced by the EPO, and supplemented through data feeds from multiple national patent offices. These separate data feeds can provide legal status information up to several weeks before the INPADOC files at the EPO are formally updated. The individual patent offices that contribute this information are not revealed via the service’s manual or marketing materials.
The ability to view, but not search, legal status data is perfectly acceptable for most legal patent searchers, who generally wish to find relevant patents, before needing to check on their enforceability. Some comparable search engines, like Delphion, do allow searches to be conducted in the legal status files, giving them some theoretical flexibility over MicroPatent. However, the lack of a legal status search in PatSearch is probably not a major disadvantage to patent search professionals, although users must evaluate the service based on their own needs.
As of July 2007, information from Thomson representatives indicates that MPI-INPADOC will probably not continue to be offered as a separate subscription service; thus, it is possible that legal status information may become incorporated into the standard PatSearch subscription in the future.