Sources of information

Patent Office Websites


UK IPO 


The UK Intellectual Property Office (UK IPO or, to use its official name, The Patent Office) has a consolidated version of the Patents Act 1977 and the associated Patents Rules 2007. A useful source of guidance on practice is the Manual of Patent Practice, which is now helpfully available in a section by section format as well as a large single pdf file. The UK IPO publishes all decisions on patent matters and opinions under section 74A. Specific information about patents and applications can be found via the Ipsum online file inspection service and the Patents Journal.

EPO


The European Patent Office has an up to date version of the European Patent Convention, with all the associated Rules and Protocols. The Guidelines for Examination are an indispensable tool for dealing with applications before the EPO. The case law of the Boards of Appeal can be found via a search interface and in a regularly updated book (the latest version of which was published in July 2016). The Official Journal, which is published monthly, contains updates to the law in the form of decisions by the Administrative Council and other announcements such as decisions and notices from the EPO President.

The EP Register and Espacenet are the services most commonly used during day to day practice, with the Register providing a constantly updated status and prosecution file for all published EP applications and Espacenet providing a comprehensive database of published application. The European Publication Server can sometimes be useful when searching for something specific, like patents that have been subject to the limitation procedure (which is where I got the information for this post).

Another database that is often useful is the register of European patent attorneys. You can also find out here who has passed the qualifying exams, which is of course not necessarily the same thing.

WIPO


The World Intellectual Property Organisation has a comprehensive resource on the Patent Cooperation Treaty (PCT), the most important being the Treaty and associated Rules, the Applicant's Guide, an updated list of the Contracting States and a list of the time limits for entering the national/regional phase. There is also a useful calculator for time limits relating to PCT applications.

WIPO also provide a useful directory of national IP offices.

USPTO


The US Patent and Trademark Office has lots of information about US patent law but is horrible to navigate. Most day to day activities will generally involve using the Patent Application Information Retrieval (PAIR) file inspection service and the Manual of Patent Examining Procedure (MPEP). The USPTO also provide consolidated versions of the relevant legislation. Various searching tools for US patents and applications are provided, but these are generally not as useful as Espacenet.

Legal Information


All legislation in the UK can be found from legislation.gov.uk, which contains updated versions of Acts, but is not up to date with everything and can be a bit difficult to navigate. 

The British and Irish Legal Information Institute (BAILII) is a good source of published case law from the UK, such as those from IPEC, the Patents Court, the Court of Appeal and the Supreme Court

Companies House is a useful source of official information on registered companies, which I always check when starting with a new client to make sure the correct information is on file.

Unofficial Sources


UK Patent Law


I run a wiki-based website called ukpatents, which I created when I was training for the UK exams in 2005 and have kept updated since then. The website contains an updated version of the Patents Act 1977 and the Patents Rules 2007, and is cross-referenced to make it easy to navigate between different sections and rules. At the moment (October 2016), it is out of action, waiting to be transferred to another wiki site at ukpatents.wikidot.com. If anyone would like to help out transferring it, please let me know.

European Patent Law


A resource that I occasionally find useful is XEPC, which is a cross-referenced version of the EPC and the associated Rules, Guidelines and Case Law. This can be a useful starting point for researching questions relating to particular provisions of the EPC.

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