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Open AccessArticle
Inventions 2016, 1(4), 24; doi:10.3390/inventions1040024

Open Source Database and Website to Provide Free and Open Access to Inactive U.S. Patents in the Public Domain

1
Department of Electrical and Computer Engineering, Michigan Technological University, Houghton, MI 49931, USA
2
Department of Materials Science and Engineering, Michigan Technological University, Houghton, MI 49931, USA
*
Author to whom correspondence should be addressed.
Academic Editor: Chien-Hung Liu
Received: 7 September 2016 / Revised: 20 October 2016 / Accepted: 2 November 2016 / Published: 9 November 2016
(This article belongs to the Collection Feature Innovation Papers)
View Full-Text   |   Download PDF [957 KB, uploaded 9 November 2016]   |  

Abstract

Although theoretically the patent system is meant to bolster innovation, the current United States Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO) is cumbersome and involves a significant time investment to locate inactive patents less than 20 years old. This article reports on the development of an open source database to find these public domain ideas. First, a search strategy is explained. Then the operation and use of free and open source software are detailed to meet the needs of open hardware innovators. Finally, a case study is presented to demonstrate the utility of the approach with 3-D printing. The results showed how the Free Inactive Patent Search enables users to search using plain language text to find public domain concepts and then provides a hyperlinked list of ideas that takes users to the USPTO database for the patent for more information. All of the source code to operate the search and the website are open source themselves and provided in the public domain for free. In the case study on 3-D printing the time to identify public domain patents was cut by a factor of more than 1500. This tool has the potential for accelerating the development of open hardware technologies to create high value for the public. View Full-Text
Keywords: open source database; inactive U.S. patent; public domain; open hardware; patent; innovation open source database; inactive U.S. patent; public domain; open hardware; patent; innovation
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This is an open access article distributed under the Creative Commons Attribution License which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited. (CC BY 4.0).

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Nilsiam, Y.; Pearce, J.M. Open Source Database and Website to Provide Free and Open Access to Inactive U.S. Patents in the Public Domain. Inventions 2016, 1, 24.

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Inventions EISSN 2411-5134 Published by MDPI AG, Basel, Switzerland RSS E-Mail Table of Contents Alert
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