Patentinformation für kleine und mittlere Unternehmen in der Bundesrepublik Deutschland
Patents are two-faced: on the one hand they are legal documents, on the other hand they are important sources of technical information. The study is focussed on the latter aspect, the information function as patents. Several studies show that large enterprises systematically take advantage of patent information, whereas small and medium-sized enterprises only scarcely use it. On this backgrounds, the German Ministry for Economic Affairs decided to promote patent information for small and medium-sized enterprises (SME) and charged the Fraunhofer Institute for Systems and Innovation Research (ISI), Karlsruhe (Germany), with the execution of this task. The project consisted of several different phases: In 1987 and 1988, a pilot project in the PIC Nürnberg was conducted wherein a conception of the search service was developed and tested on the basis of 60 searches for companies. Because the results of this pilot project were very encouraging, the service was introduced in 10 further PICs i n West Germany in the period of 1989 to 1991. During the preparation of this second phase, the frontiers to the eastern part of Germany were not yet opened so that the 6 eastern PICs could not be included. Such an enlargement is planned for 1993. It is important to note that in the second phase the PICs got funding of supplementary staff and supplementary equipment, especially online terminals, to enable them to execute patent information searches.