PATENTS AND INFORMATION
Now, what I want is, Facts . . . Facts alone are wanted in life. Charles Dickens, Hard Times
|The Increasing Volume of Patent Literature||328|
|Patents as a Source of Technical Information||329|
|Availability of Patents||331|
|Paper Copies and Microfilm||331|
|Patents on CD-ROM||332|
|Patents on the Internet||333|
|Other Patent Information on the Internet||334|
|Legal Information Relevant to Patents||334|
|Subject Matter Searches||335|
Published patents and patent applications are important sources of information. Primarily, of course, patents which are granted and in force give information by way of their claims about what areas of activity are the subject of monopoly rights and are not free to be used by the public, and published applications indicate potential monopoly rights. This is the information which one needs when carrying out an infringement search to determine whether one's proposed activity infringes anyone else's patent rights.
Secondly, all patent publications are part of the prior art and the information contained in them is relevant to the question whether or not a later invention is new and non-obvious. This information is necessary for a patentability search. What is more, recently published patents and applications in a particular field can be an important source of up-to-date technical information, not only for the scientist employed in industry, but also for the academic chemist. This 'current awareness' approach to the patent literature can of course also be directed to keeping an eye on the patenting activities of competitors, by selecting the literature by name of applicants instead of, or as well as, by subject matter.