As any attorney knows, when it comes time to make an argument, it is helpful to know how similar cases have been handled. For case law, there are many easy-to-navigate legal databases that allow term searches or searches using regular language. However, the same is not true for searching decisions by the USPTO on petitions. The following is a list of free sources for accessing petition decisions, one of which is word-searchable.
- USPTO Website: Image File Wrapper (IFW) Petition Decisions can be found on the USPTO’s bulk data website page in the form of 727 1000-page books that are grouped by date from January 2003 to April 2012. Each book may be downloaded as a PDF file consisting of scanned images. These decisions can only be made text-searchable using text character recognition tools.
- Reed Tech Website: Reed Tech and the USPTO have an agreement to make selected USPTO products available to the public at no charge. Reed Tech’s petition decisions web page is organized in the same 1000-page groupings as the USPTO’s bulk data webpage; however, the decisions are also organized by an eight digit patent application number (two digit series code plus a six digit application number) in ascending order. Similar to the USPTO’s bulk data files, downloaded Reed Tech files are not text-searchable.
- Google Books: Google obtained the majority of the bulk data set from the USPTO. Although the entire database of petitions is not text searchable, each individual book is searchable. However, please note that the Google Book data sets are no longer being updated as of 2015.
Photo from USPTO Office of Petitions.