IP Office of Singapore Provides Free Patent, Trademark, and Design Searching through eSearch

[tweetmeme source=”Intellogist” only_single=false]The Intellectual Property Office of Singapore (IPOS) has had a busy year: last October the Surf-IP search system was shut down, and IPOS recently streamlined the layout of its website to make it much more intuitive and user-friendly. The IPOS website still provides access to online IP search services through the eSearch system, which allows users to search through patent, trademark, and design applications filed with IPOS.  The eSearch services don’t provide the same breadth of patent coverage that Surf-IP previously provided, since the eSearch platform only covers patent applications or patents published in Singapore.  Surf-IP searched the patent data from a number of authorities, including US, EP, WO, JP, CN, CA, TH, GB, KR, and TW patent data (in addition to SG patent documents).  The eSearch platform covers a broader variety of intellectual property types than Surf-IP, since eSearch provides trademark and design search options, while Surf-IP only covered patent data.  Now that Surf-IP is no longer available, the eSearch services on the IPOS website provide a useful free avenue for searching SG patent data (as well as trademark and design data).

Read on to learn how to access and use the eSearch services from the IPOS website!

Accessing the eSearch Services

From the IPOS website homepage, the eSearch portal can be accessed through two paths.  From the top drop-down menu, select the “Services” option. From the Services menu, choose “Filing and Registration,” and from that submenu, select “Getting Started with eServices.” Finally, from the submenu that appears beside “Getting Started with eServices, ” choose the eSearch option to go to the portal page. The path through the main menu and submenus would therefore be Services>Filing and Registration>Getting Started with eServices>eSearch.

A much quicker option is simply selecting the eServices link under the Quick Links section in the bottom right corner of the homepage.  On the “Getting Started with eServices” page, choose the eSearch link from the Services sidemenu. The eSearch portal page provides links to the three eSearch tools: ePatents Search, eTrademarks Search, and eDesigns Search. It should be noted that these search tools are best viewed using Internet Explorer 6.0.

ePatents Search

The ePatent Search provides access to any patent application or patent that has been published in Singapore (where available).   According to the IPOS website, specifications,  bibliographic and register information are available for SG patent documents from 1937 onwards.  Access of information and downloads of patent registers and specifications are available free-of-charge. Search forms include:

  • Simple form – This fielded search form allows users to search by name, application or patent number, a keyword search within the title or abstract fields, or receipt number.
  • Advanced form – In this fielded search form, select the field criteria, enter the query (or date range, in the first field), and choose the connecting Boolean operator between query terms (AND/OR/NOT). The search form notes that patent abstract data is only “available only for direct national filing cases and PCT cases up to 1995.”
  • Specification form – Enter a keyword query to search in the specification of SG patent documents, and select a date range.

The Advanced patent search form.

From all three search forms, users may also choose the number of results per page (5 or 10), as well as which fields to display in the results (filing date, inventor, applicant, and IPC fields are optional).  From the simple and advanced forms, users can also choose sort order for the results (oldest first or last), and specification results appear to be ranked by relevancy. From specification search result sets, users can also refine a search by adding additional query terms connected to the original query by a chosen Boolean operator. Search results can be paged through 5 or 10 records at a time, but the user cannot choose to jump to a specific record number or page of results.  Results display the publication number, title, and application number, plus any optional selected fields.  Each result in the hit list also includes links to the basic full record (bibliographic data), register information, specification, and abstract.  If one of these full record views isn’t available, no link is displayed above the result in the hit list. The specifications are downloaded in TIFF format, according to the help information.

Patent search results.

eTrademarks Search

Conduct a similar mark search, online trademark search, or search through the Classification of Goods and Services.  The Similar Marks Search allows users to enter text search terms (in Latin characters or Chinese), enter a class from the Nice Classification (mandatory field), select a trademark category, and choose to display mark images only or both mark images and details in the results. From the Online Trade Marks search form, user must select a trademark type from a drop-down menu and enter any additional information (trademark number, date range, Nice Class, and individual or company name).  Finally, users may choose to search through the Nice Classification of Goods and Services (by either selecting a class number or entering a text query).

The result set displays search criteria at the top of the page, and users can select to skip to various pages of results.  Only the first 1,200 records are displayed. Users may also select individual results to print (mark image only, basic details, or full details). Select a mark from the result list to view all available details for the mark.

Trademark search results.

eDesigns Search

Search through a fielded search form by criteria like design number, applicant name, filing date, class or subclass code (Locarno), article, or UK Design number.  The result set displays 25 results per page, and a thumbnail image and design number is shown for each record. Only the first 1,200 records are displayed. Select a thumbnail to view the full design record image, or select the record number to view all details for the design.  It’s unusual that the design details and design image are displayed on separate pages.

Design search results.

Conclusion

From the copyright dates displayed at the bottom of the eSearch forms, it appears that these search services have been available since 2007 (for patent search) and 2008 (for design and trademark search).  The eSearch services were most likely available while Surf-IP was also accessible on the IPOS website, so it seems that IPOS has streamlined its available search services by discontinuing Surf-IP and maintaining the central eSearch platforms that only access SG patents, trademarks, and designs. When Surf-IP was first discontinued, the announcement noted that “other free IP search portals have been launched,” so it seems that IPOS felt that other free global IP portals (like Espacenet) provided adequate search resources that made Surf-IP redundant. The streamlined IPOS website, shutdown of Surf-IP, and the continued maintenance of eSearch are all excellent examples of the flexibility and forward-thinking nature of the Intellectual Property Office of Singapore, which has chosen to focus time and money on maintaining and improving core information resources (while weeding out redundant resources).

Do you think that IPOS made the right move by shutting down Surf-IP and maintaining their eSearch platform?  Share your opinion in the comments!

Patent Information from Landon IP

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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