The Access to Specialized Patent Information Program

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Boy, the WIPO news keeps coming! This time, WIPO in partnership with LexisNexis, Minesoft, ProQuest, Questel-Orbit, Thomson Reuters and WIPS (a veritable patent search system all-star lineup) has announced the Access to Specialized Patent Information (ASPI) program. What is this patent acronym program backed by more than a half dozen groups you may ask?

ASPI is an initiative to provide free or low cost access to patent search systems and tools to IP offices, universities and research institutes in developing countries. The patent search systems chosen for this program are:

For more info on the program, including eligibility requirements and why this makes sense for the global IP community, read on!

Free or low cost access to patent information can be a boon to developing countries. The proliferation of patent information serves as an instrument to put these countries on more equal footing with the traditional intellectual property powers. Provided the searchers keep in mind what all new patent searchers should know, being able to identify inventions and use the rich technical information available within patents can help spur innovation by “standing on the shoulders of giants.” Furthermore, additional caution can be taken not to infringe pre-existing patents (should enforceability exist in the region in question).

The ASPI program divides eligible patent countries into three groups, with help from World Bank definitions:

  • Group 1 – countries such as Afghanistan, Cambodia, Hati, and Nepal can receive access to all patent search systems listed above for free
  • Group 2 – countries such as Albania, Fiji, Jamaica, and Peru can purchase access to any of the above search systems for 1100 Swiss francs per year per institution per search system
  • Group 3 – countries such as Bahrain, Costa Rica, Lithuania, and Saint Lucia can purchase access to any of the above search systems for 3300 Swiss francs per year per institution per search system

At the Intellogist Blog, all I can think to say is bravo to everyone involved!

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Thomson Innovation

This post was edited by Intellogist Team member Chris Jagalla.

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4 Responses

  1. Though some have questioned the utility of the WIPO’s portal — because only 1 percent of people in least-developed nations have internet access — I think this initiative is laudable. LDCs are often patent-free zones, and such zones have enormous potential to explore innovative possibilities, unhindered by the restraints of patents that restrict more-developed countries. If they can get access to the necessary resources, they could contribute quite significantly to technological and medical innovation globally.

  2. In any case, it’s good to have the resources online for when these countries develop adequate internet access!

  3. [...] news from WIPO never stops coming!  Recently, we highlighted WIPO’s new ASPI search initiative,  and the new IPC Green inventory. As a quick Friday afternoon post, it’s worth mentioning [...]

  4. [...] tool.  However, now that we know that major information providers have announced the Access to Specialized Patent Information Program, the idea that developing countries could harness this source of technical information does not [...]

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