Free Chemical and Sequence Searching in Chinese Patent documents: ChemYQ and NASDAP

[tweetmeme source=”Intellogist” only_single=false] If Chinese non-patent literature searches are difficult for English-language prior art searchers, you can imagine how challenging chemical and genetic sequence searching within Chinese patent documents can be.  Many tools for chemical and genetic sequence searches in patent documents are available, both for free and by subscription, and many tools also exist for searching within Chinese-language patent documents.  Few tools, however, combine the Chinese patent coverage and chemical/genetic sequence search options; we’ve looked at only one subscription-based genetic sequence search tool, GenomeQuest, which recently added Chinese patent sequence data to their collection.  Today we’ll look at two free tools that can be used by English-language searchers to locate chemical names and genetic sequences within Chinese patent documents: ChemYQ and NASDAP.

After the jump, learn more about the Chinese chemical search engine ChemYQ and the Chinese genetic sequence search site NASDAP!


ChemYQ is a Chinese search engine which allows users to search for chemical definitions, chemical-related patents, chemical product information, and products listed for sale. The site is available in both Chinese and English. The Chinese version of the website gives users the following search options (Chinese information translated to English via Google Translate):

  • Site Search – Search for chemical industry-related websites.
  • Web Search – Appears to be a general web search engine.
  • Trade – Search through product sales listings.
  • Discuss – Search through a discussion forum.
  • Friends – People directory search.
  • Resources – Resources directory search.
  • Expert – Search by keyword or name for industry experts.
  • Product Search – Search for chemical products.
  • Dictionary – Search by chemical name, CAS number, or chemistry terminology.
  • News – Search through an archive of chemistry-related news.
  • Recruitment – Job listings.
  • Books – Search through records on chemistry-related books.
  • Patent – Search through full-text Chinese patents.

The English-language homepage of the site only offers the Dictionary, Product, and Trade (Sell/Buy) search options. After entering a query under the “Dictionary” section, the system will list all related chemical results (e.g. a search for “iron” results in a list of links to iron, “Iron Powder;Iron Filings;Iron”, “iron sulfide;iron sulphide”, etc).  Select one of the results to display information about the chemical, a list of other related chemical names, and a list of up to 10 Chinese patent documents related to that chemical.  Sometimes, no patents will be listed for a chemical record.

Links to up to 10 related Chinese patents are provided on most chemical records on ChemYQ.

Selecting one of the related patent links on the chemical record will take the user to a record on that particular patent, which includes the abstract,  all available bibliographic info on the patent, and links to related patent documents.  Links to the “original document” and “authorized document” displayed above the abstract mostly resulted in error messages (one link did take the searcher to a Chinese-language document viewing site, but no text was visible).   According to a statement at the bottom of each patent record, all patent data is provided by SIPO, the State Intellectual Property Office of the People’s Republic of China.

A patent record on ChemYQ, including an expanded search form, (mostly non-functioning) links to original documents, an abstract, and bibliographic information.

An expanded search form is also provided at the top of each patent document record, which allows users to search ChemYQ in English for patent information.  Users can search within patent titles, application/publication numbers, inventor/applicant names,  or abstracts.  The result list includes the application number and English-language title of the document, with links to the document record on ChemYQ.

The expanded search form for patents on ChemYQ.


The National Bio-Sequence Database of Chinese Patent (NASDAP) is a free search site that provides sequence searching capabilities in Chinese patents.  According to the About section, NASDAP was created by Yesu Biotech, LLC, and the database and web interface were implemented by Dr. Lun Yang and Mr. Zhenhua Xia. As of February 1, 2006, the database contained 123218 patented bio-sequences within 8563 Chinese patents.

The website describes the following search services offered through NASDAP:

  • BLAST – Open access search of bio-sequences in Chinese patents in the form of a BLAST analysis platform.
  • MotifPat – A platform developed to scan the submitted sequences matching the motifs that have been patented.
  • SNPat – A web-service for accessing the SNP (single nucleotide polymorphism) patent family.
  • ArrayPat – A web-service for accessing the probes of microarray patent family.

Users can access the four search forms through a menu of links at the top of the homepage.  Each search form allows users to select criteria from drop-down menus or checkboxes (sequence type, BLAST program, database, matrix, etc). Users can also enter the title for the sequence (in the BLAST and ArrayPat forms) and the genetic sequence in seperate text boxes.

The English-language BLAST search form on NASDAP.

Once the user has entered the sequence and selected the relavent criteria, they can run the search and display a list relavent sequences within specific Chinese patent documents.  Users can select links within the search results to view detailed records for the specific sequence or the patent document.

Search results for a BLAST search on NASDAP.

Most detailed records for the sequences during the test search displayed this message: “Temporary no sequence available for this request.”  The detailed record view for the patent documents were viewable for all selected records during a test search, and these detailed records contained a mixture of English and Chinese text displaying bibliographic information, abstract, first claim, and a list of sequences covered in the patent.  The Chinese-language text in the detailed patent record can be translated using Google Translate.


Many problems appear in both of these free search systems. ChemYQ lacks any sort of chemical structure search tool or visualizations, only 10 relavent patents are listed per chemical, and users are often unable to access a full-text version of the patent documents through the listed links.  The About section of NASDAP mentions the last update as February 1, 2006, so the database may not cover more recent patent records from the last five years.  Many of the detailed sequence records weren’t available during the test search on NASDAP, and it is unclear whether this is a temporary glitch.  Despite these issues, both ChemYQ and NASDAP provide a free avenue for English-speaking searchers to locate relavent Chinese patent documents through chemical or genetic sequence searches.  NASDAP and ChemYQ can provide a useful starting point for chemical or genetic sequence searches in Chinese patent documents, but subscription databases (like GenomeQuest) will provide broader coverage and a more reliable interface that professional prior art searchers will need to conduct a thorough search.

Do you know of any free or subscription databases that provide chemical or genetic sequence searching within Chinese  patent documents?  Let us know in the comments!

Patent Searches from Landon IP

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.


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