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This will, of course, serve as a stimulus to the expansion of world trade and technology.
It is significant that the technological explosion, which has created many of the problems for our existing patent systems, has produced the tools that should serve well in overcoming such problems. I have reference to communicationoriented, high speed, electronic data processing equipment.
Today we have data processing systems that are fully capable of being applied to the task of patent searching. These systems are characterized by massive bulk data storage capacities, very high data manipulation rates, minimal operator intervention and a broad array of input-output devices that can be associated locally or remotely from the central processor to perform a variety of tasks such as data transmission, visual displays, and making print outs.
With such powerful and sophisticated tools available to him, the user that wishes to perform the function of information storage and retrieval faces two basic problems. He must develop, or have access to, a data bank that contains all of the significant information that the system is to deal with. Also, he must develop the techniques for retrieving from the data bank that information which is pertinent to a given inquiry.
Much is being done today by various groups to utilize the available tools to perform information storage and retrieval. IBM has been working on an experimental project to develop a fully-automated system for classifying and searching abstracts patents and other technical literature. Significantly, the abstracts to be classified and searched are written in everyday language of the art. In addition, inquiries of the system, which we term "query digests,” are simply a brief description of the idea or concept to be searched and are written in everyday language of the art.
Although work is not yet completed on this project, the preliminary system tests have been extremely encouraging and the results to date have demonstrated the probable feasibility of a fully automated patent classification and search system. Not only does the system appear to provide us with a tool for IBM's own internal use in our field of interest, but we believe that the concepts of the system can be equally employed in a comprehensive system for all fields of technology.
Although I believe that the development of a reliable, economic, fully automated information retrieval system to perform patent searching on a comprehensive worldwide basis, is feasible, its development in the foreseeable future is beyond the capabilities of any one company or any one country alone.
The development of the data bank alone is an enormous task. There exist today vast volumes of patents and technical publications. They are scattered throughout the world in various patent offices, public libraries and the libraries of technical societies and companies. Only a relative few of these have abstracts describing the concepts disclosed. Only a small fraction of these abstracts are in machine readable form. Even where they are, there is no standardization of machine readable media or coding of the information in that media.
At present, there is no comprehensive plan for preparing abstracts of the existing prior art of the world and making it available in machine readable form. Although steps are being taken in national patent offices and by a number of individual publishers to provide abstracts of future publications, there is a great need for an overall plan to enlarge this activity and to put these abstracts into a standardized machine readable form.
From the standpoint of information retrieval techniques, there are several approaches used in existing operational systems and many others under development. However, these approaches are directed to the attainment of limited objectives when considered in the light of a total systems approach to a worldwide patent search system.
In the view of these uncoordinated activities, and in order to work toward the establishment, in the foreseeable future, of a viable comprehensive network of information retrieval systems to satisfy patent searching requirements on a worldwide basis, I believe we need two things—an organization and a longrange goal for that organization.
Such an organization, which, for want of a better name, I will refer to as the International Patent Searching Association, would be comprised of all interested parties that could make a contribution to the attainment of the system. This would include paent offices, equipment manufacturers and developers of searching techniques for information retrieval systems, and appropriate technical societies.
Once such an organization was formed, it could then develop a long-range goal, and a plan of action with appropriate benchmarks for achieving that goal
Such an organization would need the cooperation and financial support of all of us who use the patent system. We, in IBM, would be most happy to provide such cooperation and share financial support. I am sure that there are many others who would also do so, because the inaccessibility of prior art today is a universal problem throughout the world.
IBM would also be pleased to provide the Searching Association with the results of its work in its experimental search project so that they could be combined with the contribution of others to achieve the ultimate goal of the organization. If we set in motion a plan of action now, I predict that a viable, fully mechanized search can be realized by 1970.
By providing the public and the governments of the world with mechanized search facilities, such an organization would promote the progress of science and technology and advance the standard of living everywhere.
I believe it is the key to making the proposed Patent Cooperation Treaty a success. Sincerely yours,
J. W. BIRKENSTOCK,
Vice President. That concludes the hearings for this morning.
The Chair would like to announce that the next hearings will be held a week from today in this room at 10 a.m., on May 18, 1967, at which time the committee will hear from Mr. Eugene M. Braderman, Deputy Assistant Secretary of State for Commercial Affairs and Business Activities, and Mr. Sidney Neuman, also a member of the President's Commission on the Patent System.
Until that time, the subcommittee stands adjourned.
(Whereupon, at 11:35 a.m., the subcommittee recessed, to reconvene at 10 a.m., Thursday, May 18, 1967.)
GENERAL REVISION OF THE PATENT LAWS
THURSDAY, MAY 18, 1967
HOUSE OF REPRESENTATIVES,
Washington, D.C. The subcommittee met, pursuant to recess, at 10:15 a.m. in room 2226, Rayburn House Office Building, Hon. Robert W. Kastenmeier presiding
Present: Representatives Kastenmeier, Edwards, Poff, and Hutchinson.
Present also: Herbert Fuchs, counsel, and John W. Dean III, associate counsel.
Mr. KASTENMEIER. The subcommittee will come to order for further hearing and consideration of H.R. 5924, the Patent Reform Act of 1967.
This morning we are pleased to have as our first witness the Honorable Eugene M. Braderman, Deputy Assistant Secretary for Commercial Affairs and Business Activities, Department of State.
Mr. Braderman, you are quite welcome. Will you identify your colleagues.
Mr. BRADERMAN. Yes, Mr. Chairman. I am accompanied by Mr. Harvey Winter and Mr. Simon Tucker, who are in the Business Practices Division in the Department of State.
Mr. KASTENMEIER. Mr. Braderman, you may proceed.
Mr. BRADERMAN. Thank you very much, Mr. Chairman. STATEMENT OF HON. EUGENE M. BRADERMAN, DEPUTY ASSISTANT
SECRETARY OF STATE FOR COMMERCIAL AFFAIRS AND BUSINESS ACTIVITIES; ACCOMPANIED BY HARVEY WINTER AND SIMON TUCKER, BUSINESS PRACTICES DIVISION, DEPARTMENT OF STATE
Mr. BRADERMAN. Mr. Chairman and members of the committee, I am delighted that you have given me the opportunity to present to this committee the views of the Department of State on this important bill, the Patent Reform Act of 1967, H.R. 5924.
We believe this bill will, if enacted, establish a modern and effective patent system. The bill, as the committee well knows from its hearings to date and from its own studies, was shaped from the recommendations of the Report of the President's Commission on the Patent System. I was privileged to participate in the work of the Commission as an Observer representing the Secretary of State. In my judgment, the Commission did an outstanding job of giving careful and objective
consideration to all of the important domestic and international aspects of patent protection in developing its recommendations.
In the Department's judgment, this legislation will make a significant contribution to the interests of the United States in the international patent field. It could provide guidelines for other nations which may be developing patent systems of their own or considering changes in their current patent operations. It would also make easier our ultimate participation in an international patent system.
Before commenting on specific features of the bill, I would like to discuss briefly some of the problems in the international patent field today and why we believe this legislation will help to resolve these problems.
During the past two decades patents have assumed a role of growing importance to American industry at home and abroad because of unprecedented technological development and the rapid expansion of international trade in this period. Not only are U.S. companies filing more applications at home than ever before in our history but they are also undertaking more and more foreign filings. Thus, in 1965 our firms filed more than 100,000 applications outside the United States.
Further, the nationals of other industrialized nations are also filing increasing numbers of applications in their own countries and abroad. In 1965 about 650,000 applications were filed worldwide, representing an increase of more than 50 percent in 10 years, with a large part of this increase due to foreign filings.
As a result, two critical problems have arisen. First, examining patent offices such as those in the United States and Germany have been faced with large backlogs of patent applications. Duplication of effort contributes heavily to these backlogs. About half of the estimated 650,000 applications filed worldwide in 1965 were duplicate or multiple filings of the same invention in two or more countries. The second problem concerns the applicant who wants to file abroad in two or more countries. Such an applicant is confronted not only with the task and cost of prosecuting the same application in several countries but also with the burden of prosecuting each application under different laws and procedures.
Since patent rights are closely tied to much of our international trade and investment activity, both of these problems have an adverse effect on related business planning and decisionmaking. It has become increasingly clear to this Government—and to governments of other industrialized nations—that far-reaching steps must be taken to deal with these problems. Government is not alone in recognizing this need. So is industry.
In February of this year, for example, the Patents Committee of the National Association of Manufacturers--a committee with broad representation from large and small industry and private patent attorneys—indicated its support for updating U.S. patent laws and procedures and coordinating such efforts with other countries. The NAM Patents Committee has stated that the “urgency for action by governmental agencies has increased” because of the (a) backlog problem, (b) continuing technological progress and increasing international trade, and (c) new national and regional patent law anproaches which "increase the complexity of international coordination." The NAM committee noted that "the entire patent system concept is in jeopardy and in a state of flux-need for action has become evident."