Patent office sued over e-records

Margaret Kane Former Staff writer, CNET News
Margaret is a former news editor for CNET News, based in the Boston bureau.
Margaret Kane

The National Intellectual Property Researchers Association has filed suit against the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office over plans to eliminate some paper records. The patent office is planning to do away with paper records that the public can search and to require people to search online instead. That move is part of a larger plan to increase computer use at the agency.

The patent office is scheduled to begin eliminating paper records this week. The researchers association has filed suit in U.S. District Court in Virginia to enjoin that plan, saying that maintenance of the paper collections, particularly the foreign art and trademark search files, is needed because the automated search systems don't provide results that are fully equivalent to a combined search of the paper and electronic records.