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Questel-Orbit Completes Intellectual Property Gold Project, With Revised and Integrated Search Software
Posted On June 21, 1999
Questel-Orbit ( has completed its one-year project to combine the Orbit and Questel search software systems into a single platform. The Intellectual Property Gold (IPG) initiative has integrated Orbit's main databases and functionalities with new value-added products, complementary databases, and an optimized new Imagination 2.2 interface (the communication software for Windows access), as well as other features. The new search software supports Internet, intranet, or online dial-up access.

Questel-Orbit has also added new trademark linkages, upgraded the QPAT database, and introduced a NameWatcher Internet domain name monitoring service. The company offers flexible, e-commerce pricing on QPAT that allows end users access on a weekly or daily basis. The Questel-Orbit system has gone "all-Web" with its new QWEB service (, currently supporting command language requests, but expected to introduce menu access sometime in July. As of today, the last vestiges of the Orbit service ceased.

The new Questel-Orbit software provides an integrated search engine based on the former Questel Plus 2 engine. The software will continue to accept Orbit command synonyms for the most frequently used Orbit commands, as well as passwords and IDs from the old Orbit system. Most of the search features unique to Orbit have been transferred into the new service, with the exception of the PowerIndex feature, which Michael Wilkes, vice president of sales and marketing USA, told us would migrate sometime in the fall. Advanced search functionalities on the new Questel-Orbit software include automatic searches for citations and legal status, grouping and de-duplicating, standardized patent numbers across the primary patent databases for cross-file searches, and new standardized GET macros to enhanced statistical analysis in patent databases using the MEMS statistical analysis tool. Searchers now have a 2-hour log-off window before the system erases a search.

NameWatcher ( is a new service tracking all domain names registered worldwide. It lets companies conduct comprehensive searches for Internet domain names, check availability, and register domain names. The service will allow users to check domain names by exact search, similar or phonetically similar names, or anagrams. It continuously patrols the Web and issues weekly reports. According to Wilkes, "The service is fully bilingual, providing companies the ability to search domain names in both English and French. Using NameWatcher, companies can search 400 databases in 200 countries quickly and easily. Besides NameWatcher, companies seeking to launch new products or protect their existing trademarks can also search Questel-Orbit's 17 trademark databases online."

The latest version of QPAT ( now includes full text for European patents, including EP A (application) and B (granted) patents. A PCT database (Patent Cooperation Treaty-WO) will follow later this year. QPAT has also integrated an electronic commerce package that supports credit card billing, interactive account management, and daily subscription sign-ups. Searchers can now choose to turn the relevance ranking on and off and switch to LIFO (last-in-first-off) display of results. The system also offers a true cancel search button to eliminate waiting for unwanted results. Customers can set up personal home pages and administrative authority to manage their accounts, as well as to generate their own logo on the material. In the past, according to Wilkes, access to QPAT required monthly or annual subscriptions. Now searchers can access the file weekly or daily with payments as low as $30. Questel-Orbit allows unlimited searching within whatever time period the subscriber has paid for. It has also begun consideration of a pay-per-search option.

The new ICIMarques Web site covering French trademarks is the official INPI service from the French government cataloging all trademarks in France, as well as all French, European, and international trademarks designed in France. The service updates weekly. Questel-Orbit has built direct links to data on the site at the record level.

Questel-Orbit, a France Telecom subsidiary, has a global staff of 150 that provides 85 percent of worldwide patenting companies with access to a catalog of 100 databases, including patents and trademarks, technical and scientific information, and industry-specific information. Its parent company, France Telecom, is one of the world's leading telecom carriers, with operations in over 50 countries and 24.6 billion euros in 1998 revenues.

According to Wilkes, Questel-Orbit plans to accelerate its marketing in North America. On July 12, it will launch a series of road shows to 14 cities that will extend through September. The shows will include representatives from key producers such as Derwent and American Petroleum Institute.

Barbara Quint was senior editor of Online Searcher, co-editor of The Information Advisor’s Guide to Internet Research, and a columnist for Information Today.

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