|Monty Hyams (1918-2013): Patent Information Pioneer||home||intro||derwent||personal||downloads||links|
By the late 1970s, consumers were urging both Derwent and Chemical Abstracts Service to develop dedicated databases of Markush structures. As neither wished the other to be sole satisfier of this growing demand, work was set in motion that led to Markush DARC and MARPAT respectively.
Derwent's partners in Markush DARC were the French Patent Office (INPI) and the France Telecom subsidiary, Télésystèmes Questel.
Many challenges needed overcoming pre-launch, after which continuous development and oversight were called for. Accordingly, two decades of Markush DARC involvement lie behind the inside story kindly presented to this website by Philippe Borne of INPI.
After a droll, self-effacing introduction, Philippe offers a primer on the topic of Markush structures and the limitations of fragmentation codes. Then comes his memoir as such, including:.
Two rival consortia: the personalities involved in "20 years of transatlantic competition." Lively and interesting colleagues and rivals are recalled with warmth.
Early days of drudgery: at the very start this meant drawing structures onto paper!
Technical meetings pool expertise:.Criss-crossing La Manche, consortium members brainstorm database issues, search capabilities, training needs, user feedback, and challenges of indexing -- above all of the 'nasties' with deep levels of nesting.
A fist-fight nearly breaks out: on one occasion between INPI and Derwent representatives, differing on how to deal with an issue applicable to merely one ten-thousandth of the database! This was of course exceptional. Nevertheless…..
Indexing - a greater controversy: Philippe recounts how strategic considerations led to Derwent and INPI diverging in their respective databases, before adopting Derwent's rules in a merged service from 1998.
Philippe recalls how relevant management at INPI, Irene Savignon and Serge Chambaud, reckoned not only that a patent office was at the service of innovators, but that "in order to fulfill its mission it must itself be innovative." This led them to cooperate with Pfizer in an analysis tool for Markush claims – important work spinning out from the experience with Derwent which helped to raise INPI's profile within the search community.
The last sections of Philippe's memoir recount how stimulating and congenial the Markush DARC work was for him personally. In addition, in spite of the high costs and low income involved directly, the longer-term benefits accruing to INPI made it more than worthwhile.
We are proud to host this unique contribution by Philippe Borne to the history of patent information provision. It can be accessed in our Downloads section, Here .