Quick Tip: Sorting Page Number Location for European Patent Applications

One of my little bugbears is that the European rules (R.49(6) EPC) require a page number to be located at the top of a page:

Rule 49(6) EPC – All the sheets contained in the application shall be numbered in consecutive Arabic numerals. These shall be centred at the top of the sheet, but not placed in the top margin.

whereas the Patent Cooperation Treaty (PCT) rules (Rule 11.7 PCT) allow a page number to be placed at the top or bottom of a page:

11.7 Numbering of Sheets

(a) All the sheets contained in the international application shall be numbered in consecutive Arabic numerals.

(b) The numbers shall be centered at the top or bottom of the sheet, but shall not be placed in the margin.

This becomes annoying when you have to file translations or amendments at the European Patent Office (EPO), as these should follow European rules.

This means I often find myself needing to swap from bottom page numbers to top page numbers.  This is fine when you have a Word document  but trickier when all you have are PDF documents. However, there is a trick to swap from bottom to top page numbers.

  1. Open the PDF document.
  2. In Adobe 9 – go to the top menu – ‘Document’ > ‘Header & Footer’ > ‘Add…’. Add header
  3. Add a top header with a central page number. As the page number needs to be outside the top margin, the top margin needs to be set to at least 2cm (0.8 inches). The font size should be at least 12. Check the preview and click OK.Add header options
  4. Now to remove the existing bottom numbers. Using the top menu add another header/footer. Add header
  5. Don’t replace the existing header – click Add New.
  6. Now here comes the trick – select a ‘full block’ character using Character Map (a Windows system tool). Change the text colour to white and select a largish font size (e.g. 20+). Now copy a few of the ‘full block’ characters to the center footer. Then adjust the size of the bottom margin so the ‘full block’ characters obscure the existing page number.add new footer
  7. There you go – now compliant with European practice. To ‘fix’ the changes ‘print’ the PDF file (e.g. using the EPO-supplied Amyuni PDF printer). If you save the header and footer settings you can recall them easily.

[Bonus tip: On Adobe Acrobat X (10) they have irritatingly moved most of the top menu options to a right-hand-side “Tools” menu. Use this to select header-footer options as below.]

Adobe X

A Searchable CIPA Journal Archive

The CIPA Journal – the august publication of the UK’s Chartered Institute of Patent Attorneys – contains a veritable treasure trove of articles for the discerning Patent Attorney. It’s a shame then that, after an initial read, most editions find themselves in a forlorn pile in a distance corner of the average Patent Attorney’s office…

CIPA Journal

…Until now. With a few simple steps, you can breath life into those old editions and be the envy of your Attorney colleagues. Here’s how to do it:

  1. Goto the CIPA Website: http://www.cipa.org.uk .
  2. Log in as a member (“Members” link on left-hand side).
  3. Once logged in, click “Journal Archive” on the right-hand side.
  4. Download the available issues into a directory, such as “CIPA Journals”.

This gets you a nice collection of CIPA Journals in PDF format. You can use Adobe Acrobats “Find” feature:

to search in individual editions. However, to be of real use we need to be able to search the whole directory. There are two ways to do this:

Using Acrobat Portfolios

Adobe Acrobat 9 has a “Portfolio” feature. Click on “File” > “Create PDF Portfolio” to create one:


When the Portfolio screen loads up click “Add Existing Folder”:

Add Existing Folder

Choose your “CIPA Journals” folder. After Acrobat has worked its magic, save the Portfolio using “File” > “Save Portfolio As…”. You can now search through the Journals in the Portfolio using the “Search” box in the top right corner:

Search Portfolio

Using Windows Search

Updated / modern versions of Windows come with a “Windows Search” tool. You can find this by looking for the magnifying glass in the system toolbar. You can also display a search box by right clicking the Windows toolbar, selecting Toolbars, then selecting Windows Search Deskbar:

Windows Search

If the “CIPA Journals” folder is in your “My Documents” folder you should be able to search within the PDFs straight away by entering the search term in the Deskbar.

If that does not work you may have to check your search options. Right click the magnifying glass in the toolbar and select “Windows Search Options”. When the optiosn screen appears click modify to add your “CIPA Journals” folder to the list of indexed locations. Also click on “Advanced” and go to the “File Types” tab. Check “pdf” is an option and that the second radio box is active: “Index Properties and File Contents”. If the radio options are greyed out you will need to install the PDF iFilter, available as a free download from Acrobat (see here).

One downside to the Windows Search is I have not yet been able to show the highlighted text within each PDF. Hence, for each of your search results you will need to search within the PDF in the usual way to find the specific paragraphs. There are other 3rd party tools that can be used to search PDFs: see this post for details.

Amending PDF Pages – Tip #2

As part of a digital workflow you may need to amend pages of a PDF document. For example, you may need to add or remove text. Patent Attorneys and patent paralegals regularly have to edit pages of a patent specification. This short tutorial will show you the easiest way to do this (that I have come across). It also saves printing, allowing you to claim “eco-warrier” status.

The method requires a full version of Adobe Acrobat (versions 7+); however, it may be transferable to other PDF editing tools.

Replacing a Paragraph

  1. First open the required page of your document. (Patent people may download their pages from the EPO’s Register Plus or the USPTO’s PAIR.)

    Test Page in Acrobat
    Test Page in Acrobat
  2. Next select the “Callout Tool” editing option (e.g. Menu: Comments->Drawing Markup Tools->Callout Tool). Click the page somewhere near where you need to make the edit. A post-it-note box and arrow will appear.

    Callout Tool
    Callout Tool
  3. Manipulate the arrow of the box so that it lies behind the text you wish to replace. Resize the yellow box until it covers the text you wish to replace.
    Move Arrow
    Move Arrow

    Adjust Box Size
    Adjust Box Size
  4. Right-click on the box and select “Properties”. Change the “Border” and “Fill” colours to white. Click close.
    Right-click then Properties
    Right-click then Properties

    Change Colours
    Change Colours
  5. Double click in the box to start entering text.

    Enter Text
    Enter Text
  6. To change the text properties (e.g. font size, bold, italics etc), when typing in the box press CTRL-E (Control key and letter E). A text properties tool bar will appear.

    Text Properties
    Text Properties
  7. Once you have made your edits, print the amended file to PDF. You can use Adobe’s or a third party’s PDF Printer Driver. This cements the changes and prevents future recipients from accessing and changing the text box.

    Print to PDF
    Print to PDF
  8. Patent people: you can now email the “printed” PDF page or use it for online filing. No paper is harmed at any point.

Masking Text

  1. Repeat step 1 above.
  2. Select the “Rectangle Tool”. (See a toolbar or Menu: Comments->Drawing Markup Tools->Drawing->Rectangle Tool).
  3. Draw a rectangle over the text you wish to mask.

    Draw Rectangle
    Draw Rectangle
  4. Right-click on the rectangle and select “Properties”. As in step 4 above change the “Border” and “Fill” colours to white. (The clever ones by now will have realised you can also use the toolbar that appeared when you pressed CTRL-E. They will rule us one day.)
  5. Repeat the above steps for any other portions of text to be masked.

    Lather, wash & Repeat
    Lather, wash & Repeat
  6. To cement the changes, print the edited page (or document) to PDF. (Beware: If you use this method to redact pages and do not print to PDF, any recipient can simply delete your nicely drawn rectangles to view the previous text.)

And that completes today’s lesson.

Edited Page
Edited Page

Adobe Acrobat for (IP) Lawyers – Tip #1

Most electronic file systems use Adobe Acrobat’s PDF format for official documents.  It is often useful to add text boxes to these documents; e.g. to add a signature box to certify that a scanned document is a true copy of an original.

One problem with at least versions 7 and 8 of Acrobat is that there is no obvious way to change the properties of the text in the text box. Luckily, the Acrobat User Forums (or more precisely a user named inixia) has the answer:

1. Select “Tools – Comment & Markup – Text Box Tool” [to add a text box];
2. Type any text within the text box and HIGHLIGHT it; and
3. Press CTRL + e (Control button and “e” at the same time).

A hidden “Text Box Text Properties” tool bar will appear allowing you to change the text properties.

Textbox Properties Tool Bar

When you unselect the text (e.g. by clicking on the edges of the text box) the newly-appeared tool bar also allows you to change the properties of the box itself (such as border/fill properties).