6 Free IP Databases on the French Patent Office (INPI) Website

Most intellectual property offices have their own websites, and these sites can host an incredibly broad variety of information, ranging from national news on patents, trademark, designs, and copyright to instructions on how to register all types of intellectual property.  These websites also often host databases that allow users to search for patents, designs, or trademarks issued by the offices. We’ve spotlighted a few excellent IP office websites in past posts, such as the PRV website of the Swedish Patent and Registration Office, which hosts a user-friendly layout and multiple IP databases for users to search.  The website for the French Patent Office (Institut national de la propriété industrielle – INPI) also hosts the usual news and instructional information on registering patents, trademarks, and designs in France, but the INPI is a stand-out example of an office website which hosts a wide range of intellectual property databases. The INPI website hosts six separate portals which allow users to access French trademarks, designs, patent published since 1978, 19th century patents, patent legal statuses and file history documents,  and IP case law information.

Continue reading for a closer look at six free databases accessible through the French INPI website!
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Are your chemical structure searches catching Markush claims?

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There are only a few commercial information providers that can cope with the challenge of querying the chemical information disclosed in Markush structure claims in patents.   If you’re not familiar with Markush patent claims,  they are patent claims which describe generic patent structures that could include many different interchangeable parts.  These complex patent claims can disclose hundreds of different potential chemical compounds by describing them in generic ways.  For an example, see the chemical structure searching section of our Best Practices wiki article on Chemistry and Pharmaceuticals Searching.

Some chemical information companies have been interested in creating registries of known chemical substances that exist anywhere (not just in patent art).  For example, the Chemical Abstracts Service has a well-known file of chemical substances called CAS REGISTRY, and the ChemSpider database is a newer service which aggregates publicly available chemical data from the web into a single repository.  But searching Markush claims is not just a matter of querying a database of known structures.  To conduct a successful Markush search, a search engine must be able to search through the patent claim language and understand all the possible compounds that may be covered by structures described in  generic chemical terms.   For example, how would you teach a computer to understand that a patent which claims a compound substituted by “an alkyl, an alkoxy, hydroxy, or amino,” is a good match for the specific chemical structure you drew as a query?

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