704 W Park Ave Suite C
 Edgewater FL 32132-1409
 Ph 800-832-2823
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IP Data Corporation


Automated Patent Library System 

Q: Can I try out APLS to see if I like it before I sign up? 

A.  YES. Give us a call and we'll give you a temporary user ID to try it out (and 10 free patents). 

Q: How many users can I have on one account?
A.   99 plus the administrator user (00). The APLS user ID is your account number followed by a hyphen and two digits. These last two digits are the user number, 00 to 99.  Each user's email, PIN, Name and ID are tracked separately for billing purposes. Your monthly statement will show who created the order as well as the Docket/Reference number they used (if any).

Q: If I select View Previous Orders on the menu and download a patent from an older order again, am I billed for that patent a second time?
A.  NO. If the order is listed, you will NOT be billed if you download a patent or application a second time, or a third or fourth, or even a fifth time!  We make your older orders available as long as we can (resources permitting) for your convenience!  Remember, we provide a service for you, and not just data. We will always have the last 30 business days worth of orders available (at the very least), but we try to keep the last few months available for your convenience!

Q: What is the advantage using the Combine Files feature to create one large document to download instead of all of the individual files I ordered?
A. If the main reason you are ordering the files it to print them, this will save you the time of having to open each patent you ordered and print it individually. If you have an order with 35, 40 or even 50 patents on it, this can save you 15 to 20 minutes, or more (at no additional cost).  Also, see the next question (about printing speed).  If you want all the patent image files separate after you download, try the ZIP files option (an Unzipping program is required on your computer).

Q: Why do TIF files print twice as fast as PDF  files on my HP LaserJet printers?
A. The Windows Fax Viewer (Vista & Windows 7 and 8) and even the older Kodak Imaging Software found on the accessories menu of most Windows based computers is much more efficient in how it prepares the image data to be sent to most laser printers. In our tests of several versions of the Adobe Acrobat Reader (vers. 6 through 10) all of them were very slow at printing PDF image files. Our tests show that in almost all cases, the TIF files printed with the MS Fax Viewer and other TIF Imaging software printed in LESS THAN ONE THIRD THE TIME as the PDF image.

Q: Can two people use the same APLS UserID at the same time?
A.  No.  The APLS system will get totally confused, log both of you off (and may need to visit a shrink). If you need more users on your account, just call and we'll add them (it's easy, and it's free!)

Q: How do you handle correction pages and reexams (how do I order them)?
A. For US Patents, all post issue documents  (X6, Reexam, etc.) are appended to the original documents when you order them (at no extra cost). If you know the Reexam (B1) Number, simply order the original patent number and the ReExam will be appended to it.
For EP and PCT publications, when you order the original publications (Kind A1, A2, B1, B2, etc), we add all additional correction publications and search reports to the list of publications on the Confirmation page. Simply leave the boxes checked, and if you have ordered the original publication, all corrections and search Reports are added to your download page FREE of charge.

Q: If my firm buys a large quantity of image files each week, is there a better price we can get? 
A. Yes. Give us a call and you will be pleasantly surprised. The first break is at 200 image files a week (and it is a large break). 

Q. We can get free US publications from the USPTO and other Authorities, with that in mind, what are the advantages of APLS?
A 1. If you are only getting one or two patents, then the others may be just fine for you. But if you use more patents, and need larger numbers of publications, the ease of use and being able to order up to 500 publications in one order can't be beat. 
A 2. Also, have you ever had a problem using one of the systems from a Patent Authority? Let us know how your support call goes. 

Q: My docket numbers from APLS didn't show up on my statement as you said they would. What's up?
A. We apologize if this happened. Please contact us and we can supply copies of every image data order free of charge. Normally our software properly collects and adds the docket numbers to all image orders and put them on your monthly statement. This is so your accounting office can properly bill YOUR clients. We know how important this is in a service oriented business. 

Q. Do you sell the entire U.S. Patent Image collection?

A. Yes, - And it is also free from the USPTO or one of their appointed vendors, but if you want to save a lot of time, we can put the US collection on disks for your, nicely organized, and ready for far less than your labor will cost to do the same thing downloading and reorganizing them on disk. Call us. You'll be surprised. We also have the EP and PCT back-year image data (1978 on) in both high resolution TIF and PDF Images, plus we have all of the text data in a singel format. Yes, one format for the 3 largest patent authorities.

Q. I clicked on the email address for information on your home page, but it doesn't do anything. I had to manually type it in to use it. Why?
A.  The devious people that send out junk email (known as SPAM) now have software that automatically "harvests" email addresses from web sites. We have made our email addresses out of graphics (pictures) instead of the text email address so they can no longer be read by this harvesting software. Someday we will all be sick enough of SPAM to do something about it. Until then, we have to find ways to stop it, or at least slow it down some.

Q. How do some of these companies or web sites give away patents or let us download them for free (or close to free)?
A.  Many of them don't actually have the patent inventories on their server. They have written software to get the patents from the USPTO and other authorites and hand it to you.  When the PTO has problems, they do as well (they have no control over the source). This is also why their systems are often much slower and also why most of them don't offer all of the documents in PDF and TIF formats. 

Do you have a question or a comment you would like to share with us? Call us at (800-832-2823 or 386-426-5393) and talk to a human, not a machine.  We like answering your questions, and quite often, we are on the learning end of the conversation which allows us to improve our services. 


Same US Patents, Different CPC Classifications.   WHY? 

The USPTO MCF data began in late 2015, and almost immediately we noticed differences between the MCF and DOCDB for the same US patents. The differences were not trivial. 30 days later we started our project to track and analyze these differences. 

We mistakenly assumed that the USPTO sent DOCDB updates to the EPO with CPC classes in them, and the EPO used them.  But as it turns out, US patents are classified by both authorities, and not always in the same Groups and Sub-Groups. A small number were even found to be in totally different sub-classes and a few were not even in the same class  (all of these appeared to be mistakes and were fixed fairly quickly). 

Early results indicated it was a learning curve. The EPO had a decent headstart with the new CPC since it has its roots in ECLA, the EPO's previous system, with both based on the ST.8 standard (with minor differences). For the USPTO, it was a brand new ball game with a different set of rules. Frankly, the thought of training 9000 or so examiners on a new Class system in 12 to 18 months conjureed up images of hearding cats...  while wearing a blindfold. To the USPTO's credit, we began to see far fewer differences in less than 8 or 9 month (summer of 2016).  We are now headed into the winter of 2017, and thankfully, they are growing even closer.  

If you build your own search system, this could be a problem for your searchers. If not, does your current search provider index both sets?

Searching by classification is the most popular method for professional searchers, and depending on the type of search, a good searcher will often "eyeball" EVERY document in the Sub-Groups of interest. This can be hundreds of documents, or even a thousand or two depending on the technology.

The following questions remain:

1)  Whose CPC data is more accurate?

2) They will ever match exactly- No-  so how close will they get?

3) How will this affect your class searches?

4) Is it wise to index both sets of CPC data into one system?  (we think so - just ignore the duplicates!)

5)  CPC data for Reissue patents is still not included in the U.S. MCF. Will it ever be?

We will continue to acquire Reissue CPC data from DOCDB for our subscribers in our standard CSV file format until the USPTO supplies it.