An important aspect of the EAPO activity is the formation of the patent information fund that contains patent, patent-related and non-patent documentation, plus patent legislation, normative and methodological, or referential literature received by the Office on machine-readable or paper media. The fund is supplied with materials based on the study of the information needs of the Office's examiners and experts, subscription to periodicals, exchange of patent documentation on CD-ROMs, development of economic justification of the strategy and tactics of the complimentary search of the required information on CD-ROMs and in remote databases in the direct access mode.

In order to meet the growing needs of the EAPO examiners and experts in patent and non-patent information, the Dataware Department started in 1998 the work to establish the patent information system. The aims of such a system are increasing the work efficiency of the Office's examiners and experts, reducing the time and cost of multi-aspect information searches, providing comprehensive library and patent information services to the users, plus the publication of normative and legal information of EAPO on the Web server and CD-ROMs.

The machine-readable patent information fund is formed by establishing and maintaining specially organized search databases (DB), selective transferring of documents onto machine-readable media by scanning, digitalization, and establishing DB of full descriptions, storing DB on the departmental server, and permitting multi-user access to them. Search DB include bibliographical and referential bibliographical DB of patent and non-patent documentation stored on CD-ROMs, referential bibliographical DB of Eurasian applications and patents, bibliographical DB of legal, normative, legislative and referential information, plus publications received via subscription. Databases of full descriptions are represented by patent and non-patent documentation on CD-ROMs, full descriptions of Eurasian applications and patents, full-text DB of patent legislation, methodological, and referential information.

Information technologies and tools for the processing and conversion of information contained on CD-ROMs, establishment and loading of search DB, and preparation and placement of DB with full descriptions have been developed. Integration of patent information resources is based on the Intranet technologies and a dedicated intra-departmental Web server. The databases can be accessed in two modes: client-server and file-server. A patent browser has been developed for viewing full descriptions of patent and non-patent documentation.

The information search system of the patent information fund can perform multi-aspect searches by name, subject or numbering characteristics, and permits the displaying of search results as a list of documents found, the viewing of bibliographical and reference-bibliographical information on each document, the compiling of documents for further processing, and access to the software tools for full description viewing (a browser).

The patent information system supports the catalogue of external remote DBs of patent and non-patent documentation, accessible via the Internet and systematized by the type of information source (international centers of patent and non-patent documentation, national patent offices, etc.) and access conditions. If the EAPO patent information fund does not have the required information, it can be requested from external DBs, to which the System's home page has links. The home page of EAPO's intra-departmental Web-server also contains a notice section, with information on new materials received by the office, miscellaneous notices and referential data.

The patent information system of EAPO operates in Windows NT. The intradepartmental Web server is based on the Internet Information Server (IIS). The software was developed using the C++ language. The Web server is maintained using the FrontPage tools. New materials are constantly added to the EAPO fund of machine-readable information, which now has over 3 million patent documents of European countries (Germany, Great Britain, Austria and other), WIPO, EPO, Russia, EAPO, Japan and USA; over 117 thousand references to patent-associated literature; over 80 legislative, normative and referential documents; over 1500 units of publications received via subscription, and over 5500 CD-ROMs with full descriptions. Regular publication of legislative, normative, and referential information of EAPO on CD-ROMs has been organized.

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