Why patent citations?
Given the increasing need for fully global citation analysis for international organisations, the volume and complexity of patent citations makes it a difficult area to efficiently navigate, however, with the right tools it is also an exceptionally valuable one. An accurate citation analysis requires calculations that involve the analysis of a very large number of patents where data quality and internationally broad content is paramount. Understanding a large dataset like this can be difficult, and just a few years ago neither the big data analytics tools accessible for most users or the lack of fully global data collections allowed for it.
Such an analysis requires access to a comprehensive patent database. If your search system does not have the necessary coverage or quality-checked data then you will not trust the results, nor will you trust any analysis performed upon it. The ongoing process of cleaning and preparing patent data is of great significance at Minesoft, and PatBase now hosts 60 full text collections with bibliographic data from 105 jurisdictions overall. PatBase Analytics V2, which offers built-in analysis on patent citations, allows streamlined access for all users to process this huge amount of data and create stunning visualisations which are ideal for sharing in boardroom environments – even to those without patent know-how!
Exploring citations provides an excellent source of competitive and business intelligence. You can quickly identify players working in a similar technology area, new competitors entering a similar field, potential licensing opportunities and keep an eye on potential infringers in the sea of data. The number of forward citations is also seen by many top analysts as the biggest predictor of patent value as a large number of forward citations is a sign of industry-wide investment in that specific technology area.
Patents for inventions that are more valuable are likely to encourage research and patenting in very similar areas as there is a proven economic incentive for design-around strategy and picket fencing. The larger the amount of research and patenting focussed on that area, the greater the number of citations to the original patent. With more research and investment, there are generally more inventions and the more inventions there are, the higher the chance of infringement or encroachment. Patent commercialisation activity is often supported by citation analysis as a starting point.
Harnessing the value in patent citations with PatBase
As a result of demand from the information industry, Minesoft has developed a suite of citation tools to allow PatBase users to harness the value in patent citations. A simple and unique way to identify and collate forward and backward citations for a result set is to make use of the command line. The command to use is CTF 1 (for forward citations) or CTB 1 (for backward citations) – where 1 represents the search query that you are searching the citations for, please see example below. Once the search has run, you can export the result set to create a mini citation report.
Figure 1: Example of using the CTB/CTF commands for patent number EP27365869
For a more in-depth way to study the citations for a specific family, Minesoft developed Citation Explorer. Detailed inspections of citation data using Citation Explorer is straight-forward with an option to display information side-by-side providing easy comparisons of claims or drawings etc. Visual tools such as graphical views, a timeline and a tree view assist with evaluating patent citations so the most cited/citing patents and patterns within these citings are easy to spot. Users have the option to export all information as an Excel file, making managing your citations and sharing your findings simple.
Figure 2: Example of Citation Explorer Excel Export for family number 30396940
The new citation analysis options in PatBase Analytics V2 provide a novel way to interrogate your result set. Users can bring a dataset together into a number of different charts/graphs and present in a way that is easily understood. Citations can currently be analysed by jurisdiction, year or assignee. In addition, there is the innovative Citation Network Explorer that has been introduced to PatBase Analytics V2 this month. The tool creates highly engaging and visually stunning representations of complex patent citation networks from portfolios and any search result from PatBase. There are a range of built-in features and settings which make it simple to manipulate and arrange the networks as required, whatever the level of complexity.
Figure 3: Citation Network based on the search PA=(Apple) and TAC=(sound)
For example, using the search functionality, network highlighter and citation labels (all available in the chart settings) and noting that Samsung competes in the same technology areas as Apple – we can easily drill-down to check how often Samsung cites Apple (in this case) 1623 times (from this sample).
Figure 4: Citation network based on the search PA=(Apple) and TAC=(sound) with Samsung Electronics Co Ltd highlighted
The Citation Networks are highly interactive with extensive drill-down options available. We recommend that you try it out yourself, contact firstname.lastname@example.org or +44 (0)20 8404 0651 today for a demonstration and two-week free trial.
PatBase has some of the most comprehensive citation tools in the information industry and these functionalities are included in all full PatBase subscriptions for no extra fee! For more information about PatBase or any of our web-based patent solutions go to www.minesoft.com.