Report:QPAT/Data Coverage/Patent Coverage/Full Text Coverage/United States (US)
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|As of January 1, 2013, both QPAT and PatentExaminer have been discontinued, and they have been replaced by the Orbit.com portal.|
Questel-Orbit produces the US granted and published application files from USPTO source data. These records should include a representative image where available, although the completeness of this coverage is unknown.
Questel’s USAPPS is a comprehensive database of full text US published applications back to the earliest publication date, in March 2001. The file includes A9 correction documents, and extends to plant patents.
The company's USPAT file contains the full text of US granted utility patents back to 1971. In addition to granted patents, the file also includes reissue patents, defensive publications, Statutory Invention Registrations (SIRs), design patents, and plant patents. Design and plant patents are covered from 1976, and Statutory Invention Registrations from 1985. Re-issues are covered from 1975.
Finally, in 2008 Questel introduced a US full text backfile (USPATOLD) containing US patents from 1920 to 1973 scanned using Optical Character Recognition (OCR). The file was made available on classic Questel system in March, and was available on QPAT in May 2008. (Update: as of March 2010, this collection had been extended back to 1836. A Questel representative also stated that the OCR procedure was done in-house in 2008, making this collection unique to Questel.)
The addition of 1920-1973 US full text data is a very important enhancement to QPAT. The lack of pre-1971 data was a disadvantage particularly for searchers in the mechanical arts, where simple concepts have been around for a long time. This is especially relevant to patentability searching, because US examiners have access to patent images back to the early 1800s, via the in-house EAST system. Other systems that host pre-1971 US full text data include MicroPatent PatentWeb and Google Patent Search. A final note on the US full text backfile: although Questel should be applauded for adding this important data to its collection, other search systems do offer US full text patent data back to 1836, so in this respect Questel does have some catching up to do.
One disadvantage to searching this full text file by classification: full text files in QPAT do not contain updated classification data. They only contain the classification data published for the record at time of issue. Since the US classification schedule has undergone multiple revisions since 1971, and the US patent collection has been subsequently re-indexed many times, any classification searching performed in these files will be unreliable and incomplete.