USPTO turns to Google for help with TMI

By Suzanne Kubota
Senior Internet Editor

Now, anyone can “Google” patent and trademark data – for free!

David Kappos, the director of the Patent and Trademark Office and Undersecretary of Commerce for Intellectual Property, told Federal News Radio Google was an obvious choice to help out with USPTO problem of TMI (too much information.)

Kappos said it was important to work with a big aggregator because “we’re talking about tremendous amounts of data and tremendous amounts of bandwidth that’s required to search it.”

Under the no-cost, two-year agreement, Google will make10 terabytes of patent and trademark data available to the public in bulk form.

“Our systems at the USPTO, while capable for internal use, are not able to handle the amount of bandwidth required in order to conduct those kinds of queries, assemble the data – the answers to the queries, and to be able to return it to users.”

Ten terabytes, according to a Google search, is equivalent to the amount of data in the printed collection of the U. S. Library of Congress.

And that’s not all of what USPTO has in the vaults.

“I think the big story,” said Kappos, “is that it unlocks a treasure trove of USPTO data, frankly of public data, of America’s data, and makes it available to America’s innovation community.”

Making data available, for free, to everyone… sounds familar, no?

“It’s the USPTO making part of its data available in service of transparency in support of the president’s Open Government Initiative in making this data available in a bulk form and for free.”

Kappos said there’s no issue of ownership. “It’s all public data. It’s free to be searched. It’s free to be then accessed and further transmitted and copied. It’s all just public information.”

Making the data available “enables those who study the innovation system, whether it be inventors or creators of new brands or whether it be academics and citizens who are interested in studying the patent and trademark systems, the nature of innovation.”

And the USPTO hopes to get something in return.

After studying the information, users will hopefully “create new recommendations and new thinking that enables (USPTO) to improve the way our intellectual property system works in the U.S.,” said Kappos.

The two year agreement is a “bridge or an interim arrangement. What it does is it gets the data out there and bulk searchable quickly. We’re also seeking a longer term arrangement that will enable us to make our new data available on a weekly basis.”

And then, after that said Kappos, there’s much more historical data in the files.

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