| || ||DEPATISnet: (http://depatisnet.dpma.de)
The German Patent and Trade Mark Office has a vast store of information in the form of several million patent documents in the DEPATIS archive. Thanks to DEPATISnet, this information is available to users via the Internet. DEPATISnet includes all German patents since 1877. In addition, a large number of patent offices around the world, including those of Australia, Japan, the US, the United Kingdom, Italy, Austria, France and Switzerland, have agreed to make their documents available through DEPATISnet. The core of DEPATISnet is the DEPATIS archive containing more than 24 million patent documents published worldwide, and about 7.5 million "Patent Abstracts of Japan". The archive is growing at a rate of more than 1.5 million documents a year.
This enormous pool of knowledge is accessible using highly advanced search tools, together with a search software tailored to the needs of both inexperienced newcomers and patent information experts. Full text searching is available for all German application documents ("Offenlegungsschriften"), granted patents and utility models from 1978 onwards. For all other documents, the searchable bibliographic data elements may vary, but the document number and the International Patent Classification (IPC) are always available.
DEPATISnet opens up a wide range of search options. It features five different search levels (or "modes"), depending on the level of prior knowledge of the user. The search form has been adapted to the requirements of a modern internet search system, making it easy to retrieve the patent data required.
DEPATISnet offers the following main features:
- choice of search mode (beginner, expert, assistant, IKOFAX or patent family)
- customised hit lists, i.e. the results lists comprise data fields selected by the user
- complex search statements using logical or numerical operators, truncation and proximity operators
- patent family retrieval using the special mode or directly from the hitlist
- refined searching in expert or IKOFAX mode for reducing the number of results in a hitlist for a more specific search result
- clear display of bibliographic data in tabular form
- display and page-by-page printout at various levels of quality
- easy navigation within a document with jump function to specific document parts, or "sub-documents" (first page, description, claims, etc)
- full-text searching where full text is available
- searches in the German version of the IPC
- optional encrypted or non-encrypted access
Patent information is very important. It forms the basis for innovation and progress. The DEPATISnet service is proof of the German Patent and Trade Mark Office's commitment to act as a modern service provider for all aspects of industrial property.
Public search rooms:
The general information services at the GPTO headquarters in Munich, the Jena sub-office and the branch office in Berlin (Technical Information Centre, TIC) answer questions of interested persons from the public, mainly from small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) and individual inventors, concerning the application procedures of the various industrial property rights, the procedural steps, costs, right of appeal, priorities, term of validity, etc. First free-of-charge consultations with a patent attorney are being arranged for inventors upon appointment by telephone. In 2004 the call centre received 600 calls daily, on the average. In addition to questions answered by phone, inquiries in writing are answered by e-mail and by regular mail. Visitors are received at all three locations.
In the public search rooms in Munich and Berlin visitors have access to electronic and conventional search tools and data collections covering patent information from all over the world. 40 DEPATIS work stations in Munich and 10 in Berlin offer search options to the public which correspond to the options provided to examiners.
Some collections of foreign documents are not or not yet included in DEPATIS. These collections are still available in the public search rooms on paper, microfilm or on CD-ROM. The old numerical and classified collections of patent specifications from 23 countries are kept at the TIC of Berlin. Particularly, the collections from Eastern Europe and from the USSR/ Russia (since 1924) are worth mentioning. As a rule, these documents are not available via DEPATIS.
Furthermore, searches in the German patent database PATDPA (STN) are carried out for a fee.
The GPTO makes more than 46 million patent documents available via different media (DEPATIS, CD-ROM, micro films, paper documents).
The DPINFO IP information system is suitable for conducting searches in the patent and utility model register, in the trade mark register and the designs register for the legal and procedural status of IP rights applied for or granted in Germany.
PCs with Internet connection are available in the public search rooms so that customers may access IP information provided on the Internet - including the websites of the GPTO, EPO, WIPO, foreign patent offices and many patent and trade mark registers. Search facilities are available on a self service basis. In the year 2004, we counted about 24,000 visitors in Munich and 23,000 in Berlin; more than 120 groups attended guided tours of the public search rooms. Anybody may use the information provided in the two public search rooms in Munich and Berlin. The staff is pleased to advise visitors when they have questions concerning the use of the information means including the user interfaces of the various electronic media.
Since 1 October 2003, a fee is charged for the use of electronic information facilities in the public search rooms in Munich and Berlin. A one-day ticket is € 4.50, a monthly card € 70, and an annual card € 700. A fee of € 3 per hour is charged for the use of DEPATIS since December 2003. The first hour is free for new users. Fees are waived for schoolchildren and students using the electronic information facilities and DEPATIS for educational purposes.