US Patent Office Launches New Data Tool


The US Patent and Trademark office has launched a new tool that will give users the opportunity to look through 40 years of patent information. The tool is called PatentsView and gives patent data on technological, regional, and individual-level patent trends via search filters with multiple viewing options.

The database links inventors, their organizations, locations, and overall patenting activity using enhanced 1976-2014 data from public USPTO bulk data files.

Development of PatentsView began in 2012 as collaboration between the USPTO, USDA, the Center for the Science of Science and Innovation Policy (link is external), the University of California at Berkeley (link is external), Twin Arch Technologies, AIR, and Periscopic (link is external). The beta platform will continue to evolve and expand, with public input encouraged as development moves forward.

The patent office launched the tool in order to support the initiatives outlined in President Obama’s Memorandum on Transparency and Open Government. According to patent officials, the visualization platform is meant to encourage the study and understanding of the intellectual property (IP) and innovation system.

A statement announcing the tool also recognizes that other civic data teams have been working to gather, clean, and visualize patent data and says that the tool will allow researchers to free up more of their research time to look at trends instead of cleaning data for use.

The effort to clean existing data comes alongside another initiative which relies on big data to make the patent application process easier. In 2013, the patent office started modernizing patent searching and applications tracking with MarkLogic. The company built a Reference Document Management Service (RDMS) for the patent office and enabled real-time search of the Manual of Patent Examining Procedure (MPEP) and the Trademark Manual of Examination Procedures (TMEP).

RDMS gives information on procedures, classifications and regulations needed by inventors. The RDMS is also used by USPTO patent examiners in expediting the patent/trademark examination process, ensuring that inventors and researchers are utilizing the most up-to-date information possible.

“As America’s Innovation Agency, the USPTO is the public steward of a tremendous treasure trove of data of great value to present and future innovators, business leaders and policy makers,” said Under Secretary of Commerce for Intellectual Property and Director of the USPTO Michelle K. Lee. “We are always working to improve the discoverability, accessibility, and usability of the USPTO’s valuable patent and trademark information.”