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We’ve looked at free patent search tools and alert services, but are any free online tools available for analyzing the patent data? Many subscription-based systems possess advanced analysis capabilities: an article by Lucy Akers et al., entitled “Enhancing patent landscape analysis with visualization output” from volume 32 (2010) of World Patent Information describes three of these systems. VantagePoint, STN AnalyzePlus, and STN AnaVist all offer visual analysis tools for patent data, like “graphics and charts that show patenting trends, key patent assignees, collaboration partners, and technology evaluations” (Akers et al. 203). A free system wouldn’t possess the same capabilities as these subscription systems, but it would be useful to find a free patent search system with simple visual analysis tools. Luckily, I found just what I was looking for through a website mentioned in IPKat’s “Monday miscellany.” Patexia offers free searching of US patents granted between 1976 and 2010, and users can also create customized graphs visualizing their search results.
Read on to discover the visualization features of Patexia and find out if you should incorporate it into your next patent analysis project!
According to a March 2011 press release published on the Patexia website, the creator of the service is Patexia LLC, a company founded in 2010 in Los Angeles, California. The Patexia website is composed of two main sections, “IP Research” and “IP Community.” The “IP Community” section includes IP-related news, blog posts, and reviews of specific patents. The “IP Research” section allows users to search within a collection of 4,154,000 US patents, view visual representations of their searches, view the full text of patent documents, and write reviews about specific patents. Users must register in order to access the visualization tools and write reviews. Registration and use of all site features is currently free, but a user’s account settings includes a “Payment Settings” section, where users can provide credit card information. The IP Research platform is currently in its beta version, so it is unclear if future versions of this service will charge fees for certain features.
After a user registers and logs in, they have unlimited access to the visualization tool offered by Patexia. Users can turn the tool on or off by clicking the “Visualization off/on” option beside the search form. If the user turns the visualization feature off, only the search results will appear below the search form. If on, both the visualization graph and the search results will appear below the form. The visualization will automatically change based on the user’s search criteria. Users can search by keyword and date range, and the keyword search can be limited to certain sections of the patent (title, document number, abstract, description, claims). A user can visualize the trend of patent documents filed or granted over a period of time and containing a specific keyword by enabling the visualization tool and conducting a keyword search within a specific time frame.
Below is an example of a search for the keywords “removable stent” (without quotations, keywords within title or abstract) within the date range May 1, 1995-May 31, 2011. The visualization tool creates a line graph illustrating the trend of patents containing the keywords “removable stent” over a 16 year period. Within the visualization, users can select whether dates on the X-axis pertain to the patents’ filing dates or issue dates. For this graph, the dates correspond with the issue date of the patent documents. Users can zoom in on a particular time period within the graph, and when mousing over the graph, users can also view how many documents are included under a specific year. When a user clicks on the year, the listings for the patents filed/issued under that year will appear below the visualization.
The user can also add additional search criteria in up to five different fields: Assignee, Inventor, Agent, Country, or IPC. The example below illustrates a search for the keywords “cholesterol therapy” between the earliest available date (1976) and April 30, 2011 with an assignee name containing “Squibb.” The visualization tool automatically groups the patent documents into bars within a bar graph, according to year and assignee.
Multiple names or terms within the additional criteria can be added to create more complex bar graphs. For example, I can add the term “Johnson” to the assignee field to compare how many patents containing the keywords “cholesterol therapy” are issued each year to “Squibb” assignee or “Johnson” assignee. Users can further customize the visualization by changing the selected criteria in the “Group by” drop down menu.
Finally, users can select a specific patent document from the search results to view the full text. The full text is divided into four sections: Summary, Claims, Description, and Citation. By selecting the Reviews or Discussion sections, users can add their own commentary about the patent. Users can also download the original patent document for free in PDF format by selecting the “Download” icon. If a user is registered on any social media platforms, like LinkedIn, Facebook, or Twitter, then they can share the patent document via the social media widgets listed under the document title.
Patexia may not have the same advanced visualization features as subscription-based systems, but the visualization tool offered by Patexia still creates a detailed graph that compares assignees or illustrates technology trends over a period of time. Downsides of the Patexia system include a lack of standardized assignee or inventor names and coverage of only US patent documents. The limited coverage, search features, and basic visualization options make Patexia an inadequate tool for professional patent analysts, but casual searchers can use Patexia to visualize interesting trends in US patent data.
What are some other useful patent visualization tools, either free or subscription-based? Let us know in the comments!
This post was contributed by Joelle Mornini. The Intellogist blog is provided for free by Intellogist’s parent company Landon IP, a major provider of patent searches, trademark searches, technical translations, and information retrieval services.