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|The Surf-IP search platform ceases operation as of September 30, 2011. A list of websites of other IP offices where users can conduct patent, trademark, and design searches will be posted by IPOS after Surf-IP ceases operations.|
The following section contains subjective comments about the system that represent our editor's opinions, and should not be viewed as fact. Editor's opinions include positive and negative judgments about the product written in consideration of wider context, including related products and the industry at large. Further subjective information is presented in clearly labeled "Editor's Notes" throughout the report.
Surf IP is a free search engine sponsored by the Intellectual Property Office of Singapore covering a wide range of patent databases including a significant portion of Asian databases. The site was created to provide users in the patent community a free way to search across multiple databases using a search engine that is quick and easy to learn. Particular emphasis is placed upon the Asian databases containing searchable English text, as those are not typically available in free patent search engines.
The Surf IP interface is similar to many free search engines. Multiple search forms allow the user to perform quick overview searching. A variety of search operators are available, but in a minimalist fashion. Surf IP ranks results according to relevance using a proprietary algorithm, and users follow links directly to the publishing authority to view individual results. Users must register with the site in order to use many of its features, which include bookmarking individual results, saving search histories, exporting data, and creating alerts.
SurfIP can be helpful to patent searchers who are on a limited budget, and provides reasonably good access to free patent collections from Asian countries. In addition, searching requires a very gentle learning curve. Reviewing individual results from Surf IP is cumbersome due to the need to link directly to the patenting authority website, but it thereby avoids errors associated with importing data. Features such as bookmarking results, saving search histories, and exporting data are limited at best, but available. Overall there are better free sites for searching US and European databases, but this site can provide a stop-gap for those who occasionally need to search Asian databases. Those who need more frequent access to Asian databases should look to commercial providers.
Though only patent searching features are addressed in this article, the Surf IP tool can also be used to access trademark and design collections.