In a July 8, 2013 blog post http://www.uspto.gov/blog/, PTO Acting Director Teresa Stanek Rea announced the launch of the Global Patent Search Network (GPSN), which allows searching of the Chinese Patent Office’s (SIPO) database and other foreign patent office databases for patent documents. The post indicates that machine translations will be used for non-English foreign patent documents, and that such translations can be “awkward.” Nonetheless, this capability provides a useful tool for inventors and practitioners as they evaluate whether or not an invention may or may not be patentable. This capability also provides a useful tool for litigators seeking prior art for invalidity purposes in litigation or post-grant review procedures.
The fact that the GPSN search tool can access Chinese patent documents is potentially significant in that there has been a huge increase in Chinese patent application filings in recent years. Thus, easy access to the SIPO database, with some translation features in place, is potentially significant.