IX. Automation

In 1999,SIPO office automation made new progress.

The EPOQUE search system, established using loans from the German government, was put into full operation. At the same time, the LAN system also started operating. Both systems facilitated the searching of foreign patent documentation and the viewing of their full-texts. The Chinese Patent Documentation Search System was developed, and the Chinese Patent Information Full Texts Database and the Non-Patent Literature Database were also established. Bibliographic data and abstracts since 1985 as well as full text patent documentation within the latest three years were entered on the Net. The electronic file system and the CPMS III were initiated. Two databases on flow management and legal status were completed too. Moreover, SIPO also invested significant resources in solving the Y2k problem in its internal computer system-a strong guarantee for future normal operation. The construction of local centers under the Chinese Patent Information Network Project has gone smoothly. To date, 20 provinces, municipalities, and autonomous regions have allocated funds for building local patent information centers. At present, 13 such centers, including in Yunnan, Shandong, and Tianjin have been established. These information centers provide services for users and continually develop and improve their functions.

Specifications as to Users' Requests on the Office Automation System have been drafted and general office automation efforts been initiated. The implementation of office automation will lead to a substantive change in SIPO's operating style and capacity and will greatly enhance the Office's management efficiency and quality as a result.