Chapter 8 Patentscope

8.1 Introduction

Patentscope is the WIPO public access database. It includes coverage of the Patent Cooperation Treaty applications (administered by WIPO) and a wide range of other countries including the European Patent Office, USPTO and Japan totalling 100 million patent documents including 4.2 million PCT applications.

patentscope Home Page

Figure 8.1: patentscope Home Page

In this article we cover the basics of using Patentscope to search for and download up to 10,000 records. A detailed User’s Guide provides more details on specific features. A set of detailed video tutorials are also available. Regular updates on new features are provided through the News Archive as well as periodic webinars. When compared with other free services Patentscope has the following main strengths.

  1. Full text search in the description and claims of PCT applications on the day of publication and patent applications from a wide range of other countries including the United States, Japan, China and the European Patent Office among others.
  2. Download up to 10,000 records
  3. Expand search terms into multiple other languages using Cross Lingual Expansion or CLIR
  4. Simple, Advanced and Combined Field searching
  5. Accessible in multiple languages and a WIPO Translate text function
  6. Sequence listing downloads
  7. Green technologies through the IPC Green Inventory
  8. Different types of graphical analysis of results lists on the fly using the Options menu.

To get the most out of Patentscope it is a good idea to consult the two detailed guides and the video tutorials:

  1. Patentscope Search: The User’s Guide.
  2. Patentscope CLIR for the Cross-Lingual Information Retrieval Tool here.
  3. Patentscope Tips and Tricks Videos

If you would like to download patent or sequence data you will need to register for a free account. To register for a free account go here.

8.4 Downloading Results

In order to download data from patentscope you must be logged in to your account (accounts are free).

When logged in the results list will display a download button as we see in Figure 8.10 with an option to download 1,000 or 10,000 records at at time.

Download patentscope Results

Figure 8.10: Download patentscope Results

The data will download as an Excel file with the 10,000 results. In Excel the data looks like this.

Download patentscope Results

Figure 8.11: Download patentscope Results

When compared with other data providers this data is somewhat limited (presumably to limit the size of downloads). However, the hyperlinking of application numbers can be useful for viewing documents of interest.

We can observe that we have only downloaded 10,000 results for the purpose of illustration. To download larger sets it will be necessary to restrict the searches by data and download the data in chunks. When working with multiple downloads it is a good idea to write down the total number of results and then the results for each date limited segment to ensure that the data adds up to what you would expect.

8.5 Cross Lingual Searching

One challenge in patent searching is the use of different expressions in different languages for the same query. Patentscope presents a very useful solution to this through cross-lingual searching. From the pull down menu select Cross Lingual Expansion, then enter the search terms. You will be presented with options for automatic expansion of the search terms to other languages or supervised expansion.

For example, entering the search term “synthetic biology” and automated expansion produced the following query in English, French and German for searches of abstracts.

EN_AB:("synthetic biology") OR FR_AB:("biologie synthétique" OR "biologie synthéthique") OR DE_AB:("synthetische Biologie")

For those interested in this tool a video tutorial is available along with a tutorial on the supervised mode. The major advantage of Cross Lingual Search is that it will allow for the identification of the same and similar search terms in multiple languages.

8.6 Sequence Data

A third major feature of Patentscope is access to DNA and amino acid sequence listings filed with PCT Applications. This data can be accessed and downloaded for individual records here as shown in Figure 8.12.

patentscope Sequence Data

Figure 8.12: patentscope Sequence Data

A sample record from the lists can be seen below as a plain text file in Figure 8.13. Note that some issues may arise with reconciling the plain text file with the WIPO publication number (WO etc.) and this merits careful attention if using this data.

patentscope Sequence Listing Example

Figure 8.13: patentscope Sequence Listing Example

For larger scale use it is also possible to use the the ftp anonymous download service from the same page. This provides access to the sequence data by year as can be seen Figure 8.14.

patentscope Sequence Listing Example

Figure 8.14: patentscope Sequence Listing Example

If using the anonymous ftp service note that the recent data is measured in gigabytes, so do not try to download this data over a weak WIFI connection, a gated connection or to your phone(!). Nevertheless, the open accessibility of this data is important. For other sequence data sources you may be interested in the European Bioinformatics Institute resources here and for the US by document number here and until March 2015 at the DNA Patent Database here. Also important is the Lens Patseq tool here.

8.7 Round Up

WIPO patentscope is a useful tool for gaining access to a significant amount of patent data on a topic of interest. The ability to download 10,000 or more records at a time has been surpassed by other free databases but remains useful. The Cross Lingual Searching tool appears to be unique and very valuable as is WIPO Pearl for concept mapping. Free access to bulk download of sequence data is likely to keep bioinformaticians happy for quite a long time. Perhaps the standout specialist use from patentscope is the Chemical Compound search that is likely to be particularly valuable for industrial chemists.

However, despite its evident strengths in terms of specialist tools the utility of patentscope for patent analytics is presently limited in terms of the size of data that can be downloaded, the availability of particular data fields and the standardisation of numbers for linking with other data sources. As such, the main usefulness of patentscope for patent analytics, with the notable exception of research on industrial chemistry, is in terms of specialist support tools to support patent analysis.