Earlier this year, a team of four Indian IP enthusiasts led by Vijaykumar Shivpuje, launched the first version of an interesting Android application titled ‘VPATAPP’. VPATAPP is a free resource which provides a quick toolkit for various categorised sources aimed at IPR practitioners, specifically patent lawyers, across the globe. The app has just been upgraded to its second version on 13th December, adding crucial features.
VPATAPP is a repository of patent-related links and information from around the world, including, as per its description on Play Store, the following:
- Patent law firms across the globe;
- Patent law blogs from across the world, from different regions like USA, Europe, BRIC, Latin America, Africa, and the Asia-pacific (including India);
- Journals in the area of Intellectual Property Law, especially patents;
- Weekly or monthly official gazettes or registers published by different patent offices across the globe;
- Patent classification systems;
- Patent search websites available from patent offices across the world;
- Updated full text patent acts of different countries as published by the patent offices or WIPO;
- Worldwide full time LLM/Masters/ Graduate courses in IP;
- Links for Supplementary Protection Certificates (‘SPCs’) across different European countries.
According to the team behind the app, the motivation for it comes from the need various industries have for patent resources, as even though the official data such as patent searches or Gazette entries is available online, the industries often end up paying huge costs for obtaining the relevant data.
The app is quite easy to use, which is always a plus, and its database is impressive, and if the update is anything to go by, growing at an impressive rate as well. Its rather minimalist design lends itself to its functionality quite well. Its focus on patent-related information, while arguably restrictive, benefits it, as it means that VPATAPP may not be the jack-of-all trades but will be the master of one, and the team behind it may very well expand into other IP streams with time. The resources covered by the app are to be updated every quarter, and the jurisdictions not currently available will be included in future updates.
The functioning of VPATAPP is, however, reliant on having a functional internet connection. A suggestion that came up in our internal discussions was the introduction of something of a ‘caching’ function, which would allow users with less-than-ideal internet connections, a sadly widespread reality in India, to access the app’s resources offline.
VPATAPP will of course, like all apps, get new updates over time, and I look forward to seeing what new features the team behind VPATAPP comes up with for its third version. As of right now, their plans include setting up the iOS version of the app, which is under preparation and should be available within a month’s time.