Patent office wants help reselling data

The Patent Office is considering proposals for a partnership with a vendor that will put patent application data on the Web for public use.

The U.S. Patent and Trademark Office is considering proposals for a technology approach to data dissemination that would make publicly available on the Web nearly two petabytes of information maintained by the office.

The USPTO is looking for proposals to acquire the data in bulk and make it available to the public at no charge, according to a recent Sources Sought notice amended today on the Federal Business Opportunities Web site.

The data includes patent application documents, metadata, assignment data, fee data and application metadata.

“Unfortunately, not all of this information is currently available in bulk or machine-readable format, nor are the data formats consistent across data sets,” states the notice. “In addition, USPTO does not have the technical capability to unconditionally distribute the nearly two petabytes of data it maintains in the formats desired by the Intellectual Property community. Further, USPTO does not have the financial resources to rectify these limitations.”

The USPTO envisions a “cooperative, mutually beneficial relationship with a private or public sector participant” in which the office provides the data, and the partner maintains the database of files. There is a potential for repackaging and revenue generation from the files, the notice states.

One of the options is for the vendor to fund the development of a secure infrastructure at the USPTO that will permit delivery of the bulk data in machine-readable formats. The vendor would be responsible for ongoing operation of the infrastructure, including the maintenance of the historical data and the periodic updates to the data, and for making the data available to the public at no charge.

“As part of any resulting agreement, the vendor will be allowed to maintain, repackage (add value), distribute, and sell any resulting enhanced data sets and retain any fees collected,” the notice states.

 In 2005, the USPTO awarded a $280 million contract to Computer Sciences Corp. to assist in developing, integrating and modernizing its systems.