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Survey on the Implementation and Promotion of WIPO Standard ST.22

Response submitted by United Kingdom in 2011

The present questionnaire addresses issues concerning WIPO Standard ST.22 (Recommendation for the authoring of patent applications for the purpose of facilitating optical character recognition (OCR)) and patent applications submitted on paper or submitted electronically (e-filed) but having the text body of the application submitted in image form (e.g., PDF or TIFF images).  Even if your Office does not perform OCR on its documents, please respond to the questions which are applicable.

A revised version of WIPO Standard ST.22 was adopted by the Standards and Documentation Working Group (SDWG) on November 21, 2008.  It is available at: http://www.wipo.int/standards/en/pdf/03-22-01.pdf

The results of the survey will be presented for consideration by the Committee on WIPO Standards (CWS).

Please take note that some questions might not be displayed depending on the response(s) to preceding question(s). This could cause gaps in numbering of displayed questions and sections.

Section 1: Patent filing in your Office

1. Does your Office accept patent applications submitted on paper or submitted electronically but having the text body of the application submitted in image form (e.g., PDF or TIFF images)?

Yes

2. If applicable, please indicate the percentage, with respect to the total number of applications received by your Office, and the year of reference (e.g., 60% in 2008), of the following

applications filed on paper:

40% in 2010

applications filed electronically but having the text body of the application submitted in image form:

60% in 2010

3. Does your Office perform optical character recognition (OCR) on patent applications?

Yes

Please comment if necessary:

For Abstract text only, this is used for internal technical consideration and during our publication process.

Section 2: Promotion and use of WIPO Standard ST.22

4. Has your Office adapted the filing guidance that it provides to applicants to take into account the recommendations of the revised version of WIPO Standard ST.22?

Yes

Please comment if necessary:

Current applicant guidance was considered to adequately reflect WIPO ST.22.

5. Has your Office promoted the use by applicants of the recommendations provided by WIPO Standard ST.22?

Yes

Please comment if necessary:

A Website link was added directly to WIPO ST.22 in 2009

6. If applicable, what publication means has your Office used to promote the use of WIPO Standard ST.22 (e.g., article in the official gazette, amendment of Office’s filing recommendations, publication on the Office's website, newsletters)?

Please specify the details (e.g., entry or section of the official gazette, URL of the location where the announcement is available):

Please see the following link: http://www.ipo.gov.uk/types/patent/p-os/p-apply-online/p-apply-online-uk-filingsystem/p-apply-online-uk-checklist.htm

7. Has your Office promoted WIPO Standard ST.22 in any other way (e.g., conferences, information circulars)?

No

Section 3: Implementation of WIPO Standard ST.22

This Section 3 refers to the applications that are filed on paper or electronically (e-filed) but having the text body of the application submitted in image form (e.g., PDF or TIFF images).

8. Has your Office noticed any improvement in the quality of the formal presentation and layout of the applications that follow the recommendations of WIPO Standard ST.22?

Little improvement

9. Has your Office noticed any improvement in the OCR quality output that resulted from the applicants’ awareness of WIPO Standard ST.22?

Little improvement

Please quantify the improvement:

10. Has your Office noticed any decrease in the OCR costs that have resulted from the applicants’ awareness of WIPO Standard ST.22?

No decrease

11. Does your Office use the non-conformity to WIPO Standard ST.22 as a reason to request replacement sheets of the application?

Yes

Please comment if necessary:

The IPO does not specifically refer to WIPO ST.22, but many of the standards aspects are included in our Patents Legislation for which we raise objections against.

12. If applicable, please indicate the percentage of applications for which replacement sheets are requested with respect to the total number of applications (filed on paper or e-filed) having the text body of the application submitted in image form, and the period of time of reference:

(e.g., 15% in the first half of 2009)

Percentage:

10-15% during 2010 (Note: we do not keep accurate statistics on this aspect but this figure has been extrapolated from other internal data sources).

Please comment if necessary:

Our Patent Formalities department have advised that the majority of instances are for unrepresented applicant cases.

13. Does your Office have the intention to take into account, for the calculation of fees, the level of compliance with WIPO Standard ST.22 of the applications filed on paper or e-filed but having the text body of the application submitted in image form?

No

If applicable, please explain how:

Note: This is an interesting concept, the IPO may wish to investigate this further during future fee structure reviews.

Section 4: OCR practices of IPOs

14. Since your answer to Question 3 was “Yes”, please indicate if the following purposes are applicable and, if “Yes”, the accuracy requirements established by your Office:

a) Security screening of patent applications

No

b) Publication of the patent applications

Yes

Accuracy requirements:

We only currently capture Abstract text. 99.85% with a 100% manual check.

c) Publication of the granted patents

No

d) Please indicate other purpose(s) and corresponding accuracy requirements if necessary:

The abstract text is OCR captured internally for our technical Patent examiners and loaded into a letter writing system; from there the Examiners can edit the text which is then used in our Publication process and for delivery to the EPO for inclusion in EPOQUE.

15. Does your Office have in-house quality checking measures in place to control the quality of the OCRed patent documents?

Yes

Please provide a concise description of the measures (e.g., refer to the relative automation of the quality checking indicating if it comprises the review by staff of randomly selected output, and/or if it is based on the accuracy confidence metrics produced by the OCR software):

100% manual check of OCR text against image in e case file dossier.

16. Does your Office OCR patent documents in foreign languages?

No

17. Does your Office outsource the OCR of patent documents?

Yes

At what stage(s) of the procedure does your Office forward the patent documents to the external contractor?

Approximately six weeks after publication the EPO loads the IPO full text into EPOQUE, which has been prepared under a third party agreement.

18. If you answered “Yes” to the previous Question:

(a) If applicable, please indicate any comments or feedback that your Office might have received from the contractor about the recommendations of WIPO Standard ST.22:

N/A

(b) Please also describe the quality checking measures used to control the quality of the OCRed patent documents that are performed by your contractor:

Not known, but accuracy levels are in excess of 90%

(c) Since your answer to Questions 4, 8 or 13 was “Yes”, please indicate whether your Office has renegotiated, or intends to renegotiate, the service contract with its contractor as a consequence of the adoption of the revised version of WIPO Standard ST.22 by the Standards and Documentation Working Group (SDWG) on November 21, 2008:

No

Section 5:  Software and hardware used to OCR

19. What software tools does your Office, or its contractor, use to perform the OCR of patent documents?

OMNIpage

20. Has your Office, or its contractor, developed OCR software extensions specific to patent documents?

No

Please comment if necessary:

N/A

21. What hardware does your Office, or its contractor, use to perform the OCR of patent documents?

The IPO uses the print function in Madras-Phoenix (e-case management system) to capture the Abstract image as a PDF which to then opened and saved using OMNIpage to load into an internal bespoke letter writing system as text for our internal technical examiner to amend as appropriate. This text is then used in our publication process.

Section 6: Workflow

22. Please describe the workflow for the OCR of your patent documents:

The IPO OCR captures/converts Abstract text when the applicant requests a Search (within 12 months of filing). This abstract text (when amended by the technical examiner) is used in the publication process (loaded into EPOQUE) if the application proceeds to Publication.

Post Publication the EPO (19-20 months after filing), through a third part agreement, loads GB Full text (Description & Claims) into EPOQUE and Worldwide Esp@cenet databases.

23. Does your Office itself check the quality of its OCRed patent documents?

Yes

Please provide a concise description of how the quality check is carried out:

The IPO does a 100% manual check of the OCR Abstract text against the image in the e-dossier case management system (Madras-Phoenix).

24. Please describe how your Office handles patent documents found to be defective later in the process (e.g., after publication):

Errors in the OCR capturing processes are reported to the EPO and their databases are corrected.

Errors contained within the original PDF images of our Patent documents are re-published as Errata (Corrected patent documents).

25. Please provide a concise response to the following issues concerning the storage of OCRed patent documents:

(a) Format(s) in which your Office stores the OCRed patent documents:

Microsoft word text and html - text

(b) Does the storage format(s) used by your Office allow for later quality improvements either by your Office or by external contractors?

Yes

Please comment if necessary:

Bespoke internal system allows manual enhancements of the html text following approval by the technical examiner.

(c) Does the storage format used by your Office allow for quick identification of patent documents with OCR defects?

Yes

Please comment if necessary:

This is a manual user check.

(d) Does the storage format used by your Office allow for different renditions to view or exchange the OCRed patent documents (e.g., PDF, HTML)?

No

(e) Does the storage format used by your Office retain all the raw detailed information obtained from the OCR process (e.g., individual character accuracy estimation, position in image, etc.)?

No

(f) Does the storage format used by your Office capture, in text format, table contents, and mathematical and chemical formulae?

26. Is the OCR of patent documents also used to increase the efficiency of the work of the Office, (e.g., bibliographic data input from paper applications can be considerably speeded up with accurate OCR)?

No

27. Does your Office OCR documents other than patent documents?

No

28. If it is known by your Office, please provide a description of the usages by your customers of the documents OCRed by your Office (e.g., internal office patent application searches by examiners, Internet patent application searches by the public, electronic products sold to private subscribers, etc.):

Both the OCR'd Abstracts and Patent documents (Description & Claims) are loaded into EPOQUE and Esp@cenet and are accessible by both our technical examiners and the public respectively.

29. Does your Office use OCRed patent documents provided by other offices?

Yes

Please indicate from which office(s) and for which documents, formats and purposes:

The EPO supplies us (through a 3rd party agreement) our own GB Full text (Description & Claims), we use this text in our Peer to Patent Pilot (please see the following link for further information: http://www.ipo.gov.uk/peertopatent.htm).

Section 7: Additional comments

30. Please provide further comments regarding the implementation and promotion of WIPO Standard ST.22, as well as OCR practices of your Office, if you feel it is necessary:

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