Questel-Orbit Focuses on Intellectual Property Gold; Will Shut Down Orbit

Article excerpt

Over the next year and a half, QuestelOrbit (http://www.questel.orbit.com) will unify its software and databases through an initiative called Intellectual Property Gold, focusing on patent and trademark databases. At the same time, it will put an end to a historic software in the history of the traditional online information industry, as it shuts down the Orbit side of its operation. In combining operations, Questel-Orbit will move the databases currently exclusively on the Orbit server over to the Questel server and software, re-titling the Questel Plus 2 search engine as simply Questel-Orbit.

The company expects the unification on one service software to simplify research procedures for customers and allow users to search the entire catalog of databases. They hope the unification will improve customer service and promote the efficient development of new databases, search features, and document delivery solutions. Current Orbit searchers, mostly based in the U.S., will have to switch and learn the Questel software, if they do not already use Questel.

According to David T. Dickens, director of Online Products USA and Intellectual Property Gold project manager, the Questel and Orbit servers currently coexist in parallel on the same mainframe, but with different databases. Of the 200-plus databases available on Questel-Orbit, each side of the current system carries about half, with minimal overlap. The Questel side carries all the trademark files; some patents; French news sources; and some scientific, technical, and chemistry files, while the Orbit server carries mostly patents and intellectual property files as well as many energy and sci-tech databases. Questel-Orbit recently added some I million images to its PCTPAT (Patent Convention Treaty applications in all disciplines), FPAT (French patents from INPI), and EPAT (European patents from INPI and the European Patent Office), with the introduction of patent drawings back to 1978.

The Questel service owned by France Telecom bought Orbit Search Service in March of 1994. Orbit began in the 1960s at the Systems Development Corporation as a contract to create an online searching software for the National Library of Medicine's Medlars database. …