Report:QPAT/Import, Export, and Download/Downloads/Patent Copies
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|As of January 1, 2013, both QPAT and PatentExaminer have been discontinued, and they have been replaced by the Orbit.com portal.|
Downloading Patent Copies
Questel provides both a bulk patent copy downloading service, discussed below, and a prosecution history (or file history) ordering service through its subsidiary DigiPat, discussed in the Prosecution Histories section of this report.
Batch document delivery of patent copies is available only through Questel’s Patent Delivery Service (PDS). Access to PDS is generally included with a standard QPAT subscription, and includes up to 10,000 patent copies a month. The service is accessed by clicking “order patent copies” from the QPAT main menu, which opens a separate window requesting login.
The PDS service includes access to documents from over 30 patenting authorities, and Research Disclosure publications. For complete coverage information, see the Images section of this article.
Documents are ordered by pasting or typing them into the PDS input window. Since a 2008 update, the system is no longer very selective about number format, and will accept spaces between the number and country code, commas, and some other common punctuation marks typically found in document numbers (although it still has trouble with slashes). In fact, the system can now recognize document numbers from within a free-form block of text pasted into the order form. (This feature is also present in the patent number search wizard, discussed further in the Import Functions section.)
From this interface, users have the option of downloading the full patent copy, first page, or drawings mosaic; they must also select whether to receive the downloaded copies directly into their “portfolio” or receive them by e-mail as well. The “portfolio” is a page where downloaded patents can be accessed online, up to five days after delivery. To save them permanently, ordered patents can be downloaded as a zip file, and saved to a local directory.
The portfolio page is also accessible from QPAT, and also contains any documents downloaded individually during a QPAT search. However, a system is in place so that documents will not be downloaded twice: if a document has already been obtained, the PDF icon next to the document number in the QPAT window will appear with a large “X” over it, indicating that the patent copy is already present in the user’s portfolio.
For cost estimating purposes, users may choose to enter a “subaccount” number when they download patents. Documents are grouped by subaccount on the portfolio page. In addition, an activity report (called a “history file”) can be generated from PDS showing downloading activity by subaccount over the previous four weeks, for cost tracking/billing use.
Like other document delivery services, PDS provides fast access to documents that are free elsewhere on the web: the PDS collection is built mainly upon the EPO’s collection, available for free via esp@cenet, and supplemented by the US, Canadian, German and Australian patent office collections. The advantage to subscription services like PDS is the ability to quickly download these in bulk.
It is fortunate that the PDS service is not picky about the format of the patent document numbers. One of the problems with this type of bulk downloading system is that it can be very time consuming to have to re-format the document numbers in a long list before placing an order, so the forgiving number input window is an advantage to the system. Other bulk downloading systems, such as PatBase, have also managed to circumvent this issue with a more forgiving set of rules. However, QPAT's feature of recognizing document numbers from a section of text seems to be unique among competitors.
In addition, the portfolio page, where users can return anytime they need to see a previously downloaded document up to five days after purchase, provides online access to these orders from any location. This can be considered an advantage over other systems, which may not preserve electronic orders for future access; however, because the files expire after 5 days, user must still download their orders to a local directory rather than perpetually accessing them online.