Patent Office now on the World Wide Web

The Patent Office has launched its own site on the World Wide Web. With over 400 pages, the site offers a range of information about intellectual property (IP) and the publications and services of the Patent Office. Held on the Patent Office’s own Web server, the home page offers links into sections on Copyright, Designs, Patents and Trade Marks.

It also provides links to a Newcomer’s Guide which helpfully explains the different forms of intellectual property, contact details, news pages, publications and process and commercial search services. An Excite search engine helps the user locate subject matter within the site. A small section on intellectual property rights on the Internet will be of use to those providing on-line material.

The home page also provides a link to a Focus on a particular technology. The first technology featured is the widget (or `device for promoting froth’). A brief history of the widget is provided, starting with Guinness’s first patent on the subject, published in 1972 as GB2183592.

Under each of the major headings (copyright, designs, patents and trade marks) there is a description of the nature of these intellectual property rights, and the protection they offer, as well as guidance on how to acquire or assert them and how, where appropriate, to renew them. Points of contact are provided for further reference.

The Patent Office plans to extend the site to include links to related sites and Patent Office forms and to develop interactive elements within the site. Developments now under consideration include publication of a trade mark classification guide.

The UK Patent Office World Wide Web Site can be found at www.patent.gov.uk