This article provides a walk through of patent data fields for those who are completely new to patent analytics or want to understand the workings of patent data a little bit better. A video version of the walk through is available here and the slide deck is available for download in .pdf, powerpoint and apple keynote from GitHub. This article goes into greater depth on each data field and their use in patent analysis.

What is a Patent?

A patent can be described in two main ways:

  1. As a particular form of intellectual property right.
  2. As a type of document.

Understanding the structure of patent documents and data fields is the essential foundation of patent analytics. However, for those who are new to the patent system it is worth highlighting the key features of patents as a form of intellectual property right.

As a form of intellectual property right

  1. A patent is a temporary grant of an exclusive right to a patentee to prevent others from making, using, offering for sale, or importing, a patented invention without their consent, in a country where a patent is in force.
  2. Patent rights are territorial rights - they are only valid in the territory of the country where granted.
  3. Patents are typically granted for a period of 20 years from the filing data of an application but may be opposed or revoked.
  4. To be eligible a claimed invention must:
    • Involve patentable subject matter
    • Be new or novel
    • Involve an inventive step
    • Be susceptible to industrial application or useful.

Patents as a type of document

For patent analytics we need to concentrate on patents as a form of document and to understand:

  1. The structure of patent documents and their data fields.
  2. The strengths and limitations of different patent databases as a means for obtaining patent data.

In this article we deal with the basics of patent documents and their data fields.

Basic Data Types

When performing patent analysis we are dealing with data of seven different types:

We will walk through each of these fields using a patent application for synthetic genomes from the J. Craig Venter Institute as an example. Each of the titles for the images are hyperlinked to their sources to make it easy to explore the data as you go through them.

Synthetic Genomes: Nature News

Synthetic biology (and synthetic genomics) began to hit the international headlines with the news in 2010 that members of the J. Craig Venter Institute had successfully synthesised the genome of a Mycoides microbe and transplanted the genome into the empty cell of another Mycoides that then booted up. This led to considerable excitement about the creation of artificial life and is part of the story of the growing prominence of synthetic biology. For our purposes it is a quite novel example for walking through patent data fields.


Synthetic Genomes: Original Front Page

What we see here is the front page of an international Patent Cooperation Treaty(PCT) application from the J. Craig Venter Institute on Synthetic Genomes. The PCT allows applicants to submit a single application for potential consideration in up to 148 other countries that are Parties to the PCT based on decisions made by applicants and examination decisions in individual countries and regions. The front page (or biblio) displays the data fields that are typically used in patent analysis.