Back in November 2010, we looked the Indian Patent Information Retrieval System (IPAIRS), a search portal offered by the Indian Patent Office. We concluded that although IPAIRS is a useful free source to have access to, the site has a number of coverage and reliability problems, and users should rely on professional patent search services to obtain the most thorough and comprehensive results for prior art searches of any kind. IPAIRS Version 2.0 was released in April 2012, so how does this updated portal compare to the old version of the system?
The 2.0 interface includes a number of new and updated features, according to the “All about Patents” Blog:
The new search fields that have been added to expand the functionalities of the database are “Applicant Address”, “Inventor Address”, Journal Number (U/S 43(2)), PCT Application number and International classification. Similar to the integrated view of Espacenet, IPAIRS Version 2.0 allows one to view not only the complete specification of a specific patent but also valuable information of the patent on eRegister, Prosecution history and controller decision in a single window.
A patent agent search option is also integrated into the new version of the portal. Despite these new updates, however, I still encountered some glitches while conducting searches and viewing records through the IPAIRS interface. After the jump, learn about my experiences with IPAIRS 2.0!
A help guide for the IPAIRS search platform describes how bibliographic data for granted Indian patents is available from 1912 onwards. Full record details, including “Complete Specification, Original documents & Patent e-register are available for Patent Applications filed 01/01/1995 onwards.”
The IPAIRS 2.0 help guide lists the following improvements to the portal:
- Increased no. of fields (No. of Parameters for search are now 14)
- Combination of Search fields
- Inclusion of operators
- Distinct (non-repetitive) results
- Detailed information of Patents (01/01/1995 onwards)
The new interface includes four available search tabs:
- Granted Patents - Select any bibliographic field from a drop-down menu, choose how the selected field corresponds to a keyword/phrase (equal to, containing, having phrase as, not equal to, not containing), and enter a keyword/phrase in an adjacent text box. Enter up to 13 field-specific keywords/phrases, combined by Boolean operators (AND/OR).
- Published Application - Select any bibliographic field from a drop-down menu, choose how the selected field corresponds to a keyword/phrase (equal to, containing, having phrase as, not equal to, not containing), and enter a keyword/phrase in an adjacent text box. Enter up to 11 field-specific keywords/phrases, combined by Boolean operators (AND/OR).
- Application Status - Enter an application number to search for the available status. Use the application number search formats described for each office, listed below the search form. If details for an application/published document are available, the system will list bibliographic details on the application, the current application status, and options to print the page, view the complete specification, view the eRegister, view examination reports, view orders/decisions, and view documents. It should be noted that a disclaimer under this search form warns users that “The information under ‘Application Status’ is dynamically retrieved and is under testing, therefore the information retrieved by this system is not valid for any legal proceedings.”
- Agent Register - This form allows users to search by agent number, agent name, or agent city/state. Users can also select to view a the full list of all available agents. Results are listed in a grid below the search form, including the prefix, agent number, agent name, agent city/state, and expiration date of certification for each result. Select the “Details” option for a result to view the full record on that particular patent agent.
After conducting a search for granted patents or applications, up to 1,000 results may be displayed at one time in a grid (listing 15 results per page) that includes the application number, patent number, title of invention, and date of filing (for granted patents) and application number, publication number, title, filing date, and priority country (for applications). Select the column header to re-sort the results according to that particular field.
Select the patent number/application number in the grid to view the full record for that result. Application records include bibliographic data and the record abstract. Granted patent records include bibliographic details, the abstract, a link to the eRegister, a link to orders/decisions, a link to view documents, and the option to view the complete specification in HTML format. I had some trouble viewing the complete records for many of the patent document results that I selected from the results grid, since a new tab would often appear with an error message instead of the selected full record. It is unclear whether this is an ongoing problem or a temporary issue within the system.
IPAIRS has been updated with a much more user-friendly interface, additional search forms and fields, and the option to view more document details for each individual record. Despite these improvements, IPAIRS still suffers from ongoing display problems and data reliability issues. IPAIRS is a very useful free resource for initial scoping of Indian prior art, but professional search skills and broader searching of both patent and non-patent literature is necessary for a truly comprehensive and reliable prior art search.
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