Free Customizable Patent Citation Lists Through the CCD

[tweetmeme source=”Intellogist” only_single=false] In a past blog post, I looked at some of the notable features of the  Common Citation Document (CCD), a free tool where you can view citations from the EPO, USPTO, JPO, and PCT for entire patent families related to a specific patent application. Check out the first blog post for an overview of CCD coverage, search, and display features; you’ll be impressed by the wide range of functions offered by the tool, including multiple panes for viewing lists and patent documents simultaneously and a timeline visualization feature for viewing the timespan for a collection of citations.  One of the most noteworthy traits of the CCD is its customization options for viewing information.  The CCD allows you to control the flow of information and the final output of the citation data, so you are only viewing the data that is relevant to you.  Whether you are a patent examiner who wants a detailed list of citations in the format of a PCT international search report, or you’re a patent searcher looking for a simple, direct list of related prior art, the CCD offers viewing options that meet many types of user needs.

Continue reading to learn about the flexible options for viewing patent citation data on the CCD!

Formal Citation View

When you pull up the citation data for a specific patent application on the CCD, the default display is the formal citation view (which includes all simple family members related to the patent document, listing country codes and displaying all citations for each family member organized by citation type).  The formal view is initially expanded, with citations organized below each application under headings like “National Search Report,” “Applicant,” “National Examination,” or “Non-patent literature.”

The expanded formal citation view.

You can collapse the citation listings under each application by selecting the “Compact View” button (which then toggles over to “Expand View”).

The collapsed formal citation view.

The formal view is based upon the PCT/ISA/210 (the PCT International Search Report), so this view will probably be familiar and useful to patent examiners who utilize the CCD during prior art searches.

Within the formal citation view, users have a number of other customized viewing options, including:

  • Sort by Country – Applications will automatically sort by country code, with colored rows demarcating all of the applications from a particular patenting authority.  Expand or collapse the citation data individually for each country section.

The formal citation view, sorted by country.

  • Filter to hide applicant citations.
  • Filter to hide applications without citations.

Filtering options on the CCD.

Citations Only View

For users who want a more direct list of prior art citations, you can switch from the default formal view to the “Citations only view” (select the button in the upper left corner of the screen to turn the view on or off). The citations only view lists the related application number, citation category, citation details, and related claims for each citation.  All citations initially are listed in reverse chronological order. Citations are displayed in rows with alternating colored backgrounds, and equivalent documents are displayed adjacently with the same colored backgrounds.  If you select one of the equivalent documents, the other document is also automatically highlighted.

The "Citations only view."

Within the citations only view, users have the same options as the formal view to sort by country or to hide applicant citations/applications without citations.  Additionally, if the user has chosen to retrieve all family members (discussed in more detail below), then the user can group the citations across the extended family.  By grouping the citation across the extended family, the user will create a reverse chronological list of all prior art related to documents in the extended family, with equivalent documents displayed adjacently and all highlighted when one is selected.  If the user sorts the citations only list by country, then all citations related to applications with a particular country code will be listed together, with all citations related to one document highlighted simultaneously if one is selected.

"Citations only view", sorted by country.

Retrieving All Family Members

By default, the citation result list for a specific patent document only displays the citation data for all simple family members related to the document.  The user controls the amount of citation data they view, since they can stay on the simple family view or select to view the citation data for the entire extended INPADOC family by clicking the “Get all family members” button in the lower right corner of the viewing screen.  Before retrieving all family members, an approximate number of “Total Family Members” and the approximate number of all simple families are listed at the bottom of the screen.  Users should be warned that selecting the “Get all family members” function does occasionally take a long time to load.  The user may choose a cancel option on the screen if the data is taking too long to load.

Select to get citation data for the extended INPADOC family.


With the wide range of functions and complex, detailed information that the CCD offers, you would think that it would be impossibly difficult to use.  However, the designers of the CCD took all types of user needs into consideration, from the novice patent searchers to professional patent searchers and examiners.  As the user, you control the amount of data that you view on the CCD in regards to a single patent document.  You can view only the simple family data, or you can view citation data across the entire INPADOC family.  The simple customization options allow users to quickly format the resulting data into the desired output that meets their specific information needs.  The CCD is a tool for simplifying access to patent citation data available from the Trilateral Offices.  All types of users can benefit from this free, versatile tool, thanks to the flexibility of its viewing interface.

What do you think of the viewing customization options on the CCD?  Tell us in the comments!
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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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