IFI CLAIMS Update and Probable Patent Assignees

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IFI CLAIMS® Patent Services has updated the IFI CLAIMS®/U.S. Patents, Uniterm and CDB files, with new assignee name changes, probable assignees, class code revision, and indexing terms. Not familiar with IFI CLAIMS or need a refresher that takes these updates into account? Read on as we look at the benefits of using IFI CLAIMS, including the “probable assignee” field–there’s a hidden gem of patent information you might be missing!


IFI CLAIMS Patent Services is a company that produces the IFI collection of data files, which are based on United States (US) patent documents. IFI CLAIMS Patent Services was acquired and renamed in September 2010 by Fairview Research. Although the IFI files are most well known for their probable assignee identification (which we’ll get to in a moment), the files offer many value-added metadata fields including legal status information, IPC to US classification concordance, US class revision information, citation information, and extensive controlled vocabulary.

The controlled vocabulary has been notably increased for the 2011 annual update, focusing on new terms for “green technology.” Ever the trendy topic, a focus on green technology in patent information systems continues to permeate more of the landscape as investments and R&D in these technologies increase. Over 260 total new terms have been added and posted to more than 6,000 documents within the IFI files.

Probable assignee prediction has always been the hallmark of IFI CLAIMS-related files because they have been doing the job the longest and most reliably. Probable assignee information is needed because assignees need not be listed until the grant of a patent in the United States (only inventor information is required). To quote the January 2011 Dialog Chronolog:

U.S. published applications often publish with no assignee listed. IFI’s “probable assignee” algorithms identify the likely patent assignee, and this information is added to the appropriate record. For example, LG Electronics Inc KR was identified as the “probable assignee” in 1,007 unassigned applications published in 2010, in addition to the 1,842 applications that listed them as the patent assignee on the document as received from the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO). The “probable assignee” information significantly improves retrieval, in this case with 1,007 additional records, over 35% of the total.

While there are many ways to improve your assignee searching, it can be helpful to have access to this “hidden” information derived from the “USPTO daily assignment file, assignee information from the granted patent, or company information from the Agent/Legal Rep field.”

Recently, I was intrigued to hear about news that the USPTO would remove inventors’ mailing addresses from unassigned patents. I support this move aimed at protecting inventors from being scammed, but I wondered if this would preclude the assignee prediction employed by such companies as IFI CLAIMS Patent Services. Reading the above information about how IFI works has assured me that the probable assignee information should be as good as ever, since it factors in a host of information fields still available through existing databases.

Have you used IFI CLAIMS Patent Services files or any other probable assignee features? We’d love to hear about your successes (or difficulties) using these tools in the comments below!

Patent Analysis from Landon IP

This post was contributed by Intellogist Team member Chris Jagalla. The Intellogist blog is provided for free by Intellogist’s parent company, Landon IP, a major provider of patent search, technical translation, and information services.

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