As of Sept. 30, 2022, the United States Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO) retired decades-old search and viewing tools, many of which were accessed on a daily basis by inventors, assignees, applicants and patent practitioners alike. The retired tools are the Public-Examiner’s Automated Search Tool (PubEAST), the Public-Web-based Examiner’s Search Tool (PubWEST), the Patent Full-Text and Image Database (PatFT), and the Patent Application Full-Text and Image Database (AppFT).
The retired tools are collectively replaced by the Patent Public Search (PPUBS) tool, a more modern and feature-rich search product. The PPUBS tool was developed based on an internal tool used by patent examiners, Patents End to End Search (PE2E-Search) and includes convenience features such as document highlighting and tagging. The tool also displays search result “relevancy” scores to expedite analysis of search results, although underlying algorithm(s) for generating this metric are not disclosed. The PPUBS tool includes multiple user-configurable layouts and note-taking features. As of its launch, the tool requires a Chromium-based browser, such as Google Chrome or Microsoft Edge. Unlike the legacy tools it replaces, the tool does not operate on non-Chromium browsers, such as Apple Safari.
Although the USPTO has noted some positive feedback since the tool was initially launched in early 2022, inventor and practitioner response has been mixed.
Training and instructional resources for full-text searching of U.S. patents and U.S. pre-grant publications can be found here. Patent practitioners, developers and/or data researchers interested in accessing patent and pre-grant publication documents directly can still leverage the Bulk Data Search and Download API or Full Text Bulk Downloads among other APIs and bulk downloads provided by the USPTO.
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