Canadian Patent Database and freePat

The Canadian Intellectual Property Office has recently added features to the online patent database.

CIPO states that the new features include:

  • Highlighted search term: terms defined in the original query will be highlighted on document detail pages.
  • Improved navigation: search results pages are now numbered for easier access to specific pages.
  • Toggle between languages: Switching from English to French and vice versa is possible on all pages.
  • One click access to images: Images are now accessible through a single click. Images that are not available are denoted with “N/A”.
  • Database update indication: Dates at the footer labeled “Last updated” indicate the date in which the content of the database was last updated. Footers with the label “Date modified” indicate the date in which major changes were made to the layout of the web page.
  • Single browser window viewing: Detailed patent pages will open in the same browser window as the search results pages.

I’m especially happy about the last feature, the single browser window, since it annoyed me to no end that new windows would constantly open up while browsing through the search results.

Thanks, CIPO, for continuing to update our online database. Many other countries do not have online availability of their patents or only limited information; see for example Duncan Bucknell’s post about the lack of a good Indian patent database and the online petition he set up to make indian patent information public.

Unfortunately, however, CIPO’s changes also affect freePat which now appears to be unable to download Canadian patents.

I suspect it’s because CIPO has now renamed the directories where the image files are stored. Also the original version of freePat made queries to patents1.ic.gc.ca while the new patent database appears to be at patent.ic.gc.ca (without the “1″). I tried simply changing the base URL (to remove the “1″), but that didn’t seem to fix it (patents1.ic.gc.ca also seems to automatically redirect to patents.ic.gc.ca anyway). CIPO also announced that it was merging strategis.gc.ca with ic.gc.ca, but I don’t think that’s the issue either, since freePat does not refer to the “strategis” portion at all.

I’ll try to spend some time to investigate this further. If anyone comes up with a solution in the mean time, please email me.

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