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IPI-Award 2014 honours Stephen Boyer

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The IPI-Award 2014 has been awarded to Stephen Boyer of IBM. According to the IPI team, 'the apparent ease with which it has become possible to retrieve an international patent document on the internet can be attributed, in large part, to the ground-breaking work of Boyer'. 

He was a founding creator of the IBM Intellectual Property Network, which later became known as Delphion (subsequently acquired by Thomson Reuters). 'The creation of this full-text database was a vast undertaking due to the huge amount of data involved. It was the first time that US and international patent documents had been made widely available electronically on a single platform. This initiative fundamentally changed the way people searched and accessed patent information globally, and required the unprecedented liaison between the USPTO, WIPO, the EPO and various national patent offices.'

The IPI-Award announcement was made at the International Patent Information Conference, IPI-ConfEx  in Berlin, Germany, earlier this month.

Lucy Akers, chair of the international selection board, explained, 'The scale of the venture [Boyer] undertook was daunting, with over 10 terabytes of data (at the time an unimaginable quantity) with a supporting technical architecture that accommodated massive levels of access.  His work provided the stimulus for the creation of many other later digital libraries by commercial and governmental agencies.'

Boyer also designed and developed, with a team of others, the USPTO’s first-to-file products for electronic filing of patent applications, for which he was recognised with an award by the USPTO in 2002.