Exploring WIPO Lex: Search National Laws and Treaties on Intellectual Property

[tweetmeme source=”Intellogist” only_single=false] The World Intellectual Property Organization (WIPO) website seems to be a never-ending treasure trove of intellectual property (IP) information and search resources. The WIPO Gold portal gives you access to free databases for searching patent documents, trademarks, industrial designs, domain names, statistics, classifications, WIPO standards, and laws and treaties.  Today we’ll take a closer look at WIPO Lex, the directory released in the fall of 2010 and accessible through the WIPO Gold portal where you can search through national laws and treaties related to intellectual property for WIPO, WTO, and UN Members.

Read on after the jump to learn about the IP law search tools accessible through WIPO Lex, including member profiles for dozens of countries and multiple search forms for IP legislation, treaties, and full-text searching.

You can access WIPO Lex through the WIPO Gold search portal (under the section “Laws and Treaties”), or you can use the main horizontal navigation bar on the WIPO homepage to navigate to “Resources>>WIPO Lex” (which will take you directly to the main search form).  In the top right corner of the WIPO website, you can choose to view the website and WIPO Lex search interface in Arabic, Chinese, English, or Spanish.

The WIPO Lex search interface consists of four main tabs:

  • The IP Legislation tab allows you to select a WIPO/WTO/UN Member country (with the number of accessible texts listed in parentheses beside each country) and/or a subject (Alternative Dispute Resolution (ADR), Competition, Copyright and Related Rights (Neighboring Rights), etc.) to search through all available IP Legislation in WIPO Lex.  The result list includes the query (selected from the country and subject drop-down menus), the number of results, and a list of laws (divided by type of law – Constitution/Basic Law, Main IP Laws: enacted by Legislature, Implementing Rules/Regulations, etc).  The result list includes a date of text, entity (IP office or country), and title for each law listed, and you can select the law title to view additional bibliographic data on the law and a full-text PDF, when available. PDFs are sometimes available in multiple languages, and links to related legislation are also provided in the full record for each law.

The IP Legislation tab on WIPO Lex.

  • The Members’ Profiles tab gives a list of all member countries, and the number of available texts for each country is listed in parentheses beside the country name.  Navigate through the list by clicking on a world map to select the country or by using an alphabetical list.   Each member profile page includes number of sections, such as a list of laws, implementing rules/regulations, geographical indications, IP legal literature, treaty membership, and relevant links related to that country.  Some member profile pages may not contain all previously mentioned sections, or they may include additional sections.

The Member Profile page for Brazil.

  • The  Treaties tab allows you to select the type of text, organization involved in the treaty, and subject matter of the treaty from three separate drop-down menus.  You can then search through all available treaties in WIPO Lex, and the search result page lists the query, number of records found, and a list of related treaties.  The result list is divided into different types of treaties (WIPO-Administered Treaties, IP Regional Treaties, IP-related Multilateral Treaties, etc), and each result lists the treaty title and associated entities involved with the treat.  Select the treaty title to view bibliographic data associated with the treaty and all available full-text PDFs (often available in multiple languages).

The full bibliographic record and links to full text for a treaty on WIPO Lex.

  • The Full Text Search tab allows you to enter a search query to search within the full text of IP treaties and legislation on WIPO Lex.  Add a “+” in front of a term to mark it as mandatory and a “-” to mark the term as prohibited from the search results.  Add quotations to search for a phrase. Search results are listed 10 at a time (by default), and a snippet of the text is included for each result with query terms italicized and highlighted in the text.  A side menu beside the results allows you to narrow results by country (“sources”), language, subject, type of text, and you can choose to sort results by date or relevance.  Select a result to view the full text (PDF or HTML text).

Under the IP Legislation and Treaties tabs, you can also view news feeds of recent IP law and treaty news.  The news feeds appear to be outdated, since the latest news in both feeds is from late 2011.  An alphabetical glossary of common terms included in IP laws and treaties is also available on WIPO Lex, which may be a handy tool for users with limited knowledge about IP law.

If you need to quickly locate the full text of an IP-related law or treaty, then WIPO Lex will be one of the first resources that you’ll want to check.  WIPO Lex is just one example of the many useful free tools produced by WIPO, ranging from the patent search database PATENTSCOPE to the Global Brand Database. Explore the WIPO Gold portal to view all of the free search tools produced by WIPO.

Which WIPO search tools do you utilize on a regular basis?  Let us know in the comments!

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This post was contributed by Joelle Mornini. The Intellogist blog is provided for free by Intellogist’s parent company Landon IP, a major provider of patent searches, trademark searches, technical translations, and information retrieval services.

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