Patents as a Source of Information
Patent documents provide a unique and important source of technical information much of which may not be available anywhere else. Their uniqueness is for the following reasons: In most of the situations, patents are the earliest to show information about latest
scientific, technological development. It is a situationof the grant of patent that the invention claimed for patent must not have been published earlier.
Information available in a patent specification, fully supported by necessary drawings and examples, is more detailed and exhaustive than that available in any technical book or journal.
In some cases, patents are the only source of information. An application for a patent is filed as soon as an invention having prima-facie utility is made. Its actual utility and usefulness becomes clear only after its commercial exploitation.
Information regarding all invention in respect of any particular subject matter is available under one classification heading because patents are published, grouped in classified order.
It is estimated that almost one third of science and technology information generated in the world contained in patent documents alone. Estimates about the number of patents granted each year vary between 500,000 to 750,000. However, for grant of patent to an invention, the invention must be new, involve an inventive step and be capable of industrial application. Patents are usually granted in one country. Facilities for obtaining patent on wider scale are available in European countries, and under Patent Cooperation Treaty, for all contracting countries to the Treaty.