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India is an exploding market for intellectual property. Patent applications are exceeding 30,000 per year (see page 9) and this number is sure to erupt as Indian patent law reforms and becomes more easily enforceable. To keep up with demand, the Indian Patent Office has been revamped. As part of this new-look Indian Patent Office, the Indian Patent Information Retrieval System (also known as IPAIRS, iPairs or iPAIRS depending on what part of the site you look at) was established in early 2010.
iPairs has three main components: Granted Patent Search, Published Patent Application Search, and Application Status. Patent search for both granted and published applications includes bibliographic and abstract searching, while Application Status provides various legal status documents akin to a file history. Read on for more details!
A quick word of warning before using iPairs–the site is slow and will frequently time out. Sometimes certain queries time the system out every time and other times repeatedly trying the same query will result in success. The site appears to be a work-in-progress and on more than one occasion while doing testing for the purpose of writing this article, the entire system was unresponsive.
The Granted/Application search pages both offer two interfaces: Quick Search and Advanced Search. Users can search more than one field at a time via checkboxes in Quick Search or can use Boolean operators to search two separate fields at once in Advanced Search. The following fields are available:
- Application Number
- Applicant Name
- Inventor Name
- Patent Number
- Name of Patentee
The results list can be sorted by patent number, application number, date of filing, title of invention, or applicant name. The individual document view contains bibliographic information and the option to view the full text of the specification. The full text appears to have many scanning errors, so users may want to look at a copy of the original document before drawing any final conclusions. No patent drawings are available.
The Application Status search is even more spotty in coverage and availability, and is disclaimed by the Controller General of Patents, Designs and Trademarks thusly:
Disclaimer: 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 under the Patents Act 1970. In case of any discrepancy you may contact the appropriate Patent Office or send your comments to following email IDs:
Patent Office, Kolkata: email@example.com
Patent Office, Delhi: firstname.lastname@example.org
Patent Office, Chennai: email@example.com
Patent Office, Mumbai: firstname.lastname@example.org
Once one successfully finds a document in the Application Status search system, the following options are presented:
- “Back Repor” [sic] – appears to go back to the search page
- View Complete Specification – linked to the specification, if available
- View E-register
- View Examination Report(s)
- View Documents – broader variety of file history documents
The bottom line with iPairs is that it’s a nice option to consult if you’re looking for Indian patent information (especially file history related information, which is not available electronically elsewhere) but availability and reliability problems plague the service and make it unwise to rely on as a sole resource. With that in mind, it makes sense for your important search to be conducted by experts with multiple tools on hand as well as international patent searching expertise, such as Landon IP’s search team.
With the rapidly developing intellectual property market in India and the overhaul in the patent office, one could reasonably expect iPairs to improve. We here at Intellogist will certainly let you know if it does. In the meantime, we want to hear from you! What has your experience with iPairs been like? What features would you like to see added? Let us know in the comments below.
This post was edited by Intellogist Team member Chris Jagalla. The Intellogist blog is provided for free by Intellogist’s parent company, Landon IP, a major provider of patent search, technical translation, and information services.