Sunday, March 7, 2010

Patent prosecution resources: free claim construction dictionary through PUBPAT

PUBPAT is a non-profit organizaton affiliated with the Benjamin N. Cardozo School of Law. PUBPAT's mission is "to protect freedom in the patent system." PUBPAT announced that it is making several claim construction dictionaries available in PDF form. See the press release here for the download links.

If you ever want to know how a particular claim term has been interpreted in litigation, this is the resource to use. For example, the term "coupled" appears over 30 times in PUBPAT's dictionary, and you can see not only the construction used by the court, but also the relevant text of the decision.

I downloaded the Electronics, Computer and Business Methods dictionary and gave it a quick test drive. Be aware that each dictionary is about 50 megabytes in size, so I recommend downloading to local storage rather than trying to interact with the PDF over the Internet. The PDF contains hyperlinks for each letter of the alphabet, so you can find a word quickly by jumping to its first letter, and browsing from there. Or you can use the PDF search feature, but this will take several minutes because of the huge number of pages (over 4000). I wanted to study the chunk of pages discussing a particular term, and was admittedly disappointed to find out that the Print functionality, and even Copy to Clipboard functionality, of the PDF has been disabled. But you can hardly blame the author or PUBPAT for reducing the feature set of a free resource.

I think PUBPAT did us a great service. The next time I can't choose between two words when drafting a claim, I'll probably use the PUBPAT dictionary.

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