WASHINGTON (Legal Newsline) - The U.S. Patent and Trademark Office this month launched a new search tool allowing members of the public to view nearly 40 years of data on patenting activity in the United States.

The PatentsView beta search tool officially launched Sept. 17, according to a PTO news release.

Described by the office as a “patent data visualization platform,” it allows users to explore technological, regional and individual-level patent trends via search filters with multiple viewing options.

The database links inventors, their organizations, locations and overall patenting activity using “enhanced” data from the years 1976 to 2014 from public PTO bulk data files.

“As America’s Innovation Agency, the U.S. PTO is the public steward of a tremendous treasure trove of data of great value to present and future innovators, business leaders and policy makers,” PTO Director Michelle K. Lee said in a statement.

“We are always working to improve the discoverability, accessibility and usability of the U.S. PTO’s valuable patent and trademark information.”

Last week, the office held a one-day technical workshop on PatentsView, described as a “critical element” of President Barack Obama’s Memorandum on Transparency and Open Government.

According to the PTO, anyone can use the database.

PTO officials said the new platform encourages the study and understanding of the intellectual property and innovation system, but also serves as a fundamental function of the government in creating “public good” platforms and eliminating wasteful and redundant cleaning, converting and matching of data by many individual researchers.

Basically, PatentsView frees up researchers’ time, allowing them to focus on what they do best -- studying IP, innovation and technological change.

Development of the database began in 2012 as a collaboration between the PTO, U.S. Department of Agriculture, the Center for the Science of Science and Innovation Policy, the University of California at Berkeley, Twin Arch Technologies, AIR and Periscopic.

According to the PTO, the beta platform will continue to “evolve and expand,” with public input encouraged “as development moves forward.”

From Legal Newsline: Reach Jessica Karmasek by email at jessica@legalnewsline.com.

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