The AES Historical Committee website gives a link to patents at the
German Patent and Trademark Office (DEPATIS) for world-wide retrieval
of patent information. This access is not the only, nor the best way of
obtaining organized information in specific audio areas, because the
amount of material is overwhelming and they deliberately make access
more difficult than necessary. This is because that website does not
intend to compete with commercial services. However, for academic
historical research this commercial consideration is not relevant, and
we are free to improve the access to non-copyrighted material as we
wish. To that end, Rick Chinn, Jay McKnight, and Friedrich Engel have
provided running revisions of instructions on the AESHC website. The
latest improvement has been that full-text versions may now be
downloaded in one operation.
0 An alternative and in many respects more complete and sophisticated
access is obtained via the European Patent Office website esp@acenet.
Its sister website, which is also the official registry file of all
publicly available European patent applications, is termed epolineÂ®,
and this has an image database that will give access to all
correspondence in the various applications. The US Patent and Trade
Marks Office has a similar set of databases, and these are very useful
for particular searches as well as for studying the correspondence in
US applications. The updated "Audio Patents" project intends to create
awareness of these database systems and to give precise indications of
how to access them for the desired information.
THE PROJECT PRESENTLY COMPRISES FIVE MAJOR AREAS:
1 ABRIDGMENTS OF SPECIFICATIONS
The high quality of the British "Abridgements of Specifications" has
been recognized by the European Patent Office, and they presently form
the basis for abstracts and selected drawings for all British patents
from ca. 1890 that may be searched by means of the esp@cenet tools. The
abstract texts are not 100% identical to those obtained by browsing the
original printed books of abridgements, but they link to the full texts
of the patents in question all the way back.
This means that the first area of the project is to create awareness of
specifically this source, rather than by uploading abridgements and
indexes from new scans as was originally the idea. The Abridgements
represent both surviving technologies and futile attempts.
BACKGROUND: Abridgements were tools for the examination of UK patent
applications before the 1977 Patents Act, because there was only
examination with respect to prior UK patents. These abridgements are
hence extremely condensed versions of the patents in question and much
better than the abstracts generally found in more recent US patents
(and post 1977 British patents!).
Presently esp@cenet (but not DEPATIS!) may be searched for applicant
and via a modern classification back to 1890, and dependent on how you
define your requirements, you may have the original Abridgement text
and the images that go with it or download the full text of the British
Text recognition software has generated raw ASCII files of description
and claims that are also available on the website, but they have not
been proofread as regards the early years. I have also noted that the
Abridgements published may be different from the collection I have to
hand. This is no doubt due to a classification into several subject
areas, and the European project is satisfied with only one abridgement
I am not aware of the intended cut-off date for this European project.
These are less than in the original project plan: this area is in reality no longer "major".
I am manually sorting out GB patents mainly relating to
electromechanical audio recording and reproduction (cutterheads and
pickups) 1900-1925 and have made a list available to the HC, with the
idea that relevant patents be made available as links directly at the
AES HC website. The list will be added to by myself, and I invite
contributions from other interested persons
2 PAGES OF JAES WITH PATENT REVIEWS
Retrieving the pages of the AES Journal containing the Reviews of
Acoustical Patents that were reprinted from the Acoustical Society of
America and providing similar web access to each individual US patent
in the form of the reviewer's comment, with a number index and
BACKGROUND: unfortunately, the CD Library of AES publications does not include the relevant pages of Reviews.
I have been offered a copy of a DVD that contains the information; Bill
Wray has already identified the relevant issues and page numbers. I
will fish the Reviews, separate the Reviews into files, index and
upload on a slow but on-going basis. Contributions are invited.
3 PDF VERSIONS OF US PATENTS
Providing access to PDF versions of complete US patent documents (not
individual pages) by numbers, from the very first in the audio field
BACKGROUND: Post-1970 complete ASCII files are available for all US
patents. Pre-1970 only image files are available at the USPTO website
of US documents, but they require a special reader.
Again, the task has been reduced by the activities of the European
Patent Office, and it is now only a matter of presenting information on
the AESHC website of how to this in an expedient manner.
4 PERSONAL COMMENTS REGARDING PATENTS
With the strong technical involvement in the development of audio
technologies it is inevitable that members will have personal views on
particular patents. Those who have been long in the business may have
had to look through and comment on weekly lists of possibly relevant
patents in their professional activity, and may feel tempted to act
correspondingly when made aware of audio patents through the present
In other words, it is the long-term goal to make room for personal
comments relating to the individual patent documents (Abridgements,
ASA, US patents) in order to create a body of knowledge of the
Through gradual input from interested persons (volunteers as usual!) to
create links between national patent numbers in order to identify
patent families (patents that are published in various countries but
relating to one particular invention) and to link to comment fields.
Such comments may in themselves be links to court cases, affidavits,
etc. Contributions are invited.
This activity is to be coordinated with the general re-organization of
the AESHC website and may take the form of a responsible WIKI-structure.
5 INSTRUCTIONS FOR ACCESS
Serving all of the above areas is the creation of a PowerPoint presentation of
1) how to access esp@acenet
2) how to access epolineÂ®
3) how to access the USPTO Patent Search and Public PAIR systems
I have performed a token search, stored a number of screen dumps,
originated by a Patent Review of an issued US Patent, which is still
pending in Europe, and the presentation will draw on all the databases.
At present it is most likely that there will be 3 separate PowerPoint
presentations in order that a specific need may be addressed without
having to go through endless slides from another problem. The
presentations will be the actual screen images with superimposed
comments and explanations as well as connecting text.
The project will be developed further from this start, and we expect
that it will become an authoritative source to the technical
development of the Audio area.
G B-N 2005-05-06
Revised 2005-05-22 GB-N + jm