You soon will be able to go on the Internet and search and download both texts and images of American patents--for free. For starters, the U.S.Patent and Trademark Office (PTO) is putting its trademark text on line this month. Patent text and trademark images follow in November. Included will be the full text of the 2 million patents dating back to 1976. They will be fully searchable by keywords not only in the bibliographic and abstract fields--as has been possible since 1995--but also in the patent specification and claims parts. Patent images linked to patent text will be on line by next March, PTO Commissioner Bruce A. Lehman assures Design News. PTO intends eventually to make available for free on the Internet more than 20 million pages of patent and trademark information. PTO's database and other services for inventors can be viewed at the agency's Internet address: www.uspto.gov.
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