Apply for the Brian Stockdale Memorial Award to Attend the PIUG 2013 Annual Conference for Free!

The mission of the Patent Information Users Group (PIUG) is to “support, assist, improve and enhance the success of patent information professionals through leadership, education, communication, advocacy and networking.” This year, the PIUG 2013 Annual Conference will be held from April 27 to May 2, 2013 in Alexandria, Virginia at the Hilton Alexandria Mark Center, and the organization is again offering new patent information professionals the chance to attend the conference for free by entering to win the 2013 Brian Stockdale Memorial Award.  This annual award is dedicated to the memory of one of the world’s most talented patent information search professionals, Dr. Brian Stockdale, who traveled extensively throughout the world imparting his knowledge of patent searching.  Are you a student or a new professional with less than three years experience in the patent information field who wants to attend the PIUG 2013 Annual Conference?  Then you should submit an essay by February 8, 2013 to be considered for the 2013 Brian Stockdale Memorial Award, which offers an award that covers membership in PIUG for the current year, conference registration, and standard travel expenses to the conference.

Read on to learn about the entry process and awards package for the 2013 Brian Stockdale Memorial Award!

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Patent Information Users Group Accepting Applications for the 2012 Brian Stockdale Memorial Award

It’s that time of year again, everybody! The PIUG 2012 Annual Conference is coming up in Denver, Colorado from April 28th through May 3rd. Once again the Brian Stockdale Memorial Award will be presented to go along with all the great presentations, networking, and official business happenings.

Sound familiar? You may recall us promoting the importance of the award last year.

The Brian Stockdale Memorial Award continues to be a great tradition kept alive by PIUG to recognize and promote new talent within the patent information field. Even if you aren’t a newcomer, I’ll bet you know someone who is and would be deserving of a nomination, so please read on to find out exactly how to participate in the award selection process!

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Biotech patents and their pitfalls: Names-for-Life adds value to your biology searches

During last month’s annual PIUG meeting, it was my good fortune to see a presentation from George Garrity, Professor of Microbiology and Molecular Genetics at Michigan State University and a co-founder of NamesforLife, LLC.   From George I learned about an important challenge affecting searchers of biological information: rapidly changing organism names.

This is an exciting time to be a biologist, as new knowledge is rapidly being discovered through DNA sequencing technology.   But one downside is that a fast-moving field means a quickly changing taxonomy: as bacterial strains are differentiated from one another, their specific names frequently evolve.  I was astonished to learn that the list of validly published names of Bacteria and Archaea changes about 15 times a week, and informal or trivial names are created and enter into the literature at a rate of approximately 100-150 times/day.  Read on to discover how these challenges impact the patent field, and how the Names-for-Life technology is designed to help.

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Update from PIUG 2011

Well my first full day at PIUG 2011 in Cincinnati, OH is done.  Although I spent a good part of it eating Graeter’s ice cream, the news I learned is so interesting that I just have to share it.

I have fresh-off-the-press updates about Dialog, Innography, WIPO PATENTSCOPE®, PatBase, Derwent World Patents Index and more, so read on!

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How I found my way in patent information

Our online community for discussing challenges in patent and prior art search, Intellogist, has now been around for a few years.  Recently somebody asked me a tricky question regarding patent families, and I soon found myself digging through my personal files.  Some of the older stuff I turned up sent me down memory lane, and I figured the blog would be the perfect place to reminisce.

The days when I was first putting Intellogist content together didn’t feel very productive.  Mostly they were spent reading and cross referencing the existing literature on patent information sources – of which there was, or so it seemed to me, surprisingly little.  This industry is so important, yet its practices are so lightly documented.   It might astonish you to know that before I put together the information in the earliest Intellogist glossary articles and reports,  I had to perform literally months of research.   I was actually quite hard on myself about it, really, because I was sure a perfectly drawn, crystal clear, up-to-date article on the history of patent families and other patent information developments had to be floating out there on the internet, ready for anyone to read.

If that document exists, I haven’t found it yet (so please forward it to me at your earliest opportunity).  In this post I’ll share what resources worked for me, and I’ll give some perspective on what it means to be just starting out in this industry.

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The PIUG Brian Stockdale Memorial Award: Important for the Patent Community

The patent searching industry has many guild-like qualities. Intellogist is a repository of information about patent search systems and patent searching itself. PIUG (the Patent Information Users Group) is a formal dues-paying organization promoting the interests of patent searchers and other IP professionals. In fact, in the PIUG Bylaws, it states that one of the main purposes of PIUG is:

To improve business conditions for, maintain and improve the qualifications of, and promote a common business interest for patent information professionals.

One of the ways this interest can be promoted is by spotlighting and helping along a new generation of patent information professionals. To this end, PIUG has created the Brian Stockdale Memorial Award. Read on to find out more about the award, why it’s important, and how to apply before the March 25th deadline!

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Warning: your electronic patent search databases have gaps!

UPDATE: For a further enlightening discussion of the gaps in the USPTO full text database, please see the comment section of this post (click the word “Comments” where it appears at the very end of this post).

Recently, a message came over Carl Oppedahl’s PAIR discussion list highlighting a mysterious gap in the USPTO’s online patent database: data seemed to be missing for patent numbers between 6,363,527 and 6,412,112.

Rick Neifeld, of Neifeld IP Law, responded that his 1999 survey into the PTO’s data revealed many errors in the USPTO’s data, as many of us have probably suspected for some time.  Rick’s description of these errors is very interesting:

The dirt consisted of things as minor as numerous misspellings of assignee names, or HTML pages non compliant with HTML standards, to HTML text that could not be deconstructed into component sections due to HTML formatting errors, assignment records that were combined, corrupt, unreadable.

I absolutely expect our current crop of electronic patent database to contain massive numbers of errors. We have to expect this, if only because of the sheer amount of information involved.   Another reason might be that the economic model of patent data production does not really encourage the national patent offices to maintain high quality electronic patent data. There are millions and millions of patent documents pouring out of government-run institutions (without a profit motive for perfection), and errors are bound to be rampant.

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