Is an API of USPTO trademark data coming soon?

Via an email from the USPTO [subscribe link]:

On or about April 1, 2011, Trademarks is planning to move Trademark Document Retrieval (TDR) 2.0 from a beta system to a full production system. As part of the Trademark Next Generation (TM NG) program, TDR 2.0 is the first USPTO application running partially in a cloud computing environment. Virtualization and cloud computing are now the industry standard in information technology solutions, and the USPTO wants to take advantage of this technology in our aim to provide full end-to-end electronic processing for Trademarks. It is our first step toward our Trademarks Next Generation goal of providing a system that is faster, more practical, much more feature-rich, and reliable for both the public and our staff.

Currently, everything a user downloads in TDR is first converted into a PDF. This is the most useful download format for the majority of users. TDR 2.0 still allows for PDF downloads, but it also allows a user to download documents in the original format, or source format that was originally uploaded in TEAS, or if something we generated, in our original format.

Some of our larger users, such as law firms and businesses, want to be able to directly access our data using their own software without using TDR at all. TDR does not support direct access to Trademark data because the links to our data are not reproducible or consistent. With TDR 2.0, direct access is supported.

Very soon, TDR 2.0 will support multimedia files making it possible for external users to gain access to multimedia content associated with Trademark data.

My API comment referring to the text in bold above (emphasis added).

I’d love for such data to be easily available to everyone, instead of just being available to the patent and trademark service providers (Unauthorized Practice of Law???) that (apparently) scrape the USPTO’s website daily. Alas.

I may have to start a fan club for Director David Kappos! Bravo!

Patent Drafting 101

Ronald Slusky, author of Invention Analysis and Claiming: A Patent Lawyer’s Guide, has some upcoming seminars (based upon his book). See for the details. I have heard many great things about his book (it’s on my “to read” list).

As for my “reading” list, Oxford University Press recently sent me a review copy of Rules of Patent Drafting by Joseph E. Root. Consider it a must read, particularly for new patent attorneys. I liked it so much that we immediately bought a copy for our other (Ohio) office. [update: 20% off coupon]

And finally, the other book on my patent “to read” (and add to my work library) list is Robert Kahrl’s “Thesaurus of Claim Construction” (also by Oxford University Press). I hear that it is a perfect resource for quickly finding the Federal Circuit’s definition of a term you and the examiner are arguing about… links for these books: Widgets

Double spacing between sentences

Hi. My name is Steve, and I’m a double spacer. I admit it.

I learned to type on an old IBM Selectric® typewriter (the vibrations of which I was sure would make me sterile) when I was in high school. One of the many rules hammered into each of our heads by business arts (I’m not sure they teach that at Hogwarts) teacher Mrs. Grove:

First shalt thou end each sentence with an appropriate punctuation mark. Then, shalt thou add two, no more, no less, spaces. Two shalt be the number thou shalt count, and the number of the counting shall be two. Three shalt thou not count, nor either count thou one, excepting that thou then proceed to two. Four is right out. Once the number two, being the second number, be reached, then proceedest  thou to begin a subsequent sentence.

Or something like that…

I still do it that way today. Apparently, in a typewriter-less world…it is poor form. Dead wrong. I’m an embarrassment to society. At least according to Typography for Lawyers. Confirmed by Slate magazine.

I guess I better start reprogramming my brain.

For those of you playing along at home, here’s step one:

Microsoft Word Options menu–>Proofing–>When correcting spelling and grammar in Word–>Writing Style: Grammar & Style–>Settings–>Require–>Spaces required between sentences: 1.

I’m hoping that having Microsoft Word flag it…I’ll be able to start unlearning old (apparently bad) habits.

USPTO and embedded fonts in Acrobat PDF

The Acrobat for Lawyers blog has a great post talking about “Federal Courts moving to requiring PDF/A for filings.

One of the benefits of PDF/A is that it includes EMBEDDED FONTS.  The article includes a section on “Creating an “Embed All” Setting”"…good reading for patent practitioners constantly struggling with EFS-Web validation issues.

See also my previous post:  How to set up Adobe Acrobat to make EFS and the USPTO happy.

Announcing: Buchanan Nipper LLC

Sorry for the light posting…I’ve been a little busy.  ;-)

I can now announce here that I will be forming a new law firm on October 1, 2010:  Buchanan Nipper LLC, working for the same clients (if they’ll have me), doing the same type of work.

My partner at Buchanan Nipper will be J. Matt Buchanan, a patent attorney I have known for coming up on seven years now.  He writes the Promote the Progress patent law blog. Both blogs will transition to be Buchanan Nipper firm blogs.  We will also be starting a third blog (the “Bending” blog) which discusses our “notes on building a better IP firm.”  Details regarding the Bending blog will be coming soon.   We will also be “micro-blogging” via the @patent Twitter feed.

Buchanan Nipper will have two offices, one in Boise, Idaho and one in Perrysburg, Ohio (a suburb of Toledo). Information regarding the new firm can be found (soon) at

As usual…more details are coming SOON!  Feel free to drop me a line if you have questions in the meantime:

Ten Ways to Improve the USPTO Website – Number 2

The second way to improve the website would be to double check all of the information provided as facts.

For example, the Full-Text Database FAQ (among other pages) notes that (emphasis added):

Patents from January 1976 to the present offer the full searchable text, including all bibliographic data, such as the inventor’s name, the patent’s title, and the assignee’s name; the abstract; the full description of the invention; and the claims….

Patents from 1790 to December 1975 offer only the patent number, issue date, and current US patent classification in the text display, and can be searched only within those fields. However, this limited text display also includes a hyperlink to obtain full-page images of all pages of the patent.

While the page says that only patents January 1976 to the present are full text, a little digging reveals that the first full-text patent is U.S. Patent No. 3,555,944, issued January 19, 1971.

However, a quick review of the first design patent issued in 1976 (D238,315) reveals that it is not full text.  Odd.

The solution would be to update that FAQ page (and everywhere else the topic is discussed) with the actual patent numbers and/or coverage of the Full-Text Database.

Update (2010.07.27):  In digging through some old notes, I previously noted that the earliest full-text patent was 3,572,436.  Perhaps they are slowly working backwords through the database…

Bilski Podcasts

A couple post-Bilski podcasts to link to:

  • Patents in the Supreme Court: Bilski v. Kappos – A “panel podcast/debate” between Professor John Duffy (George Washington Law School) and David Olson (Boston College Law School), moderated by Professor Adam Mossoff (George Mason School of Law).
  • This Week in Law – Episode 68 – “Whiz Bang Click” – “Bilski decision and the validity of business method patents, improving the Patent Office, finding relevant prior art, and more.”  Host: Denise Howell, Guests: Erik Heels, J. Matthew Buchanan and Stephen Nipper.

Patent Plugin for FireFox

Kenneth Yip at Apsator e-mailed me to point out that they have a new version of their FireFox plugin available.  See:  He notes:

…the new version introduces two breakthrough features.  The first feature is to preview patent drawings in PNG format.  There is no need for TIFF plugin.  This not only reduces computer resource loading, but also allows printing the patent diagrams directly from the USPTO patent search result page.  The second feature is to use Google Translate to translate patent abstract directly.  These two features features hopefully will continue improve the effectiveness in reading patents.  A guideline on how to use Aspator can be found at

Other features he lists:

  • Read searched patent abstracts, claims, drawings and bibliographies from USPTo and esp@cenet on one single page.
  • Patent classification analyzer.
  • Direct access to esp@cenet and Google Patent Search.
  • Download PDF of a patent through
  • Download multiple patents in one single PDF file or in separate PDF files.
  • Store your search records.

It is a very hand tool worth checking out.

practical knowledge for small entities and solos