Tuesday, March 29, 2011

World Cities Ranked by Patent Productivity

Today's Globe and Mail published an interesting list of 24 cities ranked by the number of U.S. patents per 100,000 population. The top ranked Canadian city was Vancouver (11th), followed by Toronto (12th), Calgary (13th), Montreal (15th) and Halifax (20th). Seven of the top ten cities were in the U.S. There were some surprising omissions. Houston, for example, didn't make the list despite its high patent output. And San Diego and the Research Triangle area in North Carolina, home to many research universities and biotech companies, were also missing.

It's easy to dismiss such rankings as U.S.-centric because they're based only on USPTO data. But the fact is that many Canadian inventors and companies file applications first in the U.S. According to the USPTO's Fiscal Year 2010 annual report, Canadians filed 11,250 applications in 2009. In comparison, the CIPO received 5,215 patent applications from Canadian residents in 2009-2010.

It would be interesting to re-calculate this list based on PCT data from PatentScope. Cities with high filings of PCT patent applications per 100K pop. might indicate concentrations of companies with global rather than national or regional patent strategies.

Saturday, March 12, 2011

FPO Adds Non-Patent Literature Collection

FreePatentsOnline (FPO) has added a full-text collection of non-patent literature to its suite of patent databases. Not much is stated about the collection, but according to the copyright notice that appears in each record it appears to be sourced from Gale Cengage Learning, a producer of full-text and bibliographic databases. The NPL collection can be searched alone or with the patent collections.

NPL records include bibliographic data, full-text and tables, but not images. Date coverage appears to start as far back as the early 1980s up through March 2011. In addition to full-text searching, it is possible to limit searches to specific fields such as author name (use IN), article title (use TTL) , and full text (use SPEC). Searching by patent classification is not possible as none of the articles appear to have USPC or IPC codes.

Earthquake-proof Buildings

The 8.9-magnitude earthquake that struck Japan on March 11 is a massive natural disaster and human tragedy, but it could have been much worse. News reports have credited Japan`s strict building codes with saving countless lives. Thanks to Japanese engineering, thousands of buildings and other structures survived the initial earthquake and numerous aftershocks. Japan`s leadership in earthquake resistant technologies is evident in the patent record. Japanese engineers and scientist have filed almost 70 percent of the patent applications related to protecting structures from earthquakes. 

The main IPC codes related to earthquake-resistant structures are: 
  • E04H 9/02 - Buildings .. withstanding earthquakes or sinking of ground
  • E02D 27/34 - Foundations for sinking or earthquake territories
In espacenet there are 15,180 patent documents classified in E04H 9/02, 71 percent (10,816) of these are JP documents. About 4,159 patent documents are classified in E02D 27/34, 60 percent (2,479) are JP documents.

Some of the leading patent assignees in this field are Japanese corporations, including Kajima, Oiles, Shimzu, and Nippon Steel.

PatentScope Adds EPO Collection

The EPO patent document backfile, which includes bibliographic data from 1978 through mid-2010 and full-text data from 1996 through mid-2010, is now available in PatentScope. With this addition, the WIPO's patent search system has 7.7 million patent documents from 21 regional and national patent offices.

Earlier this year PatentScope added the national patent collections of Colombia, Costa Rica, Guatemala, Panama, Peru and Uruguay. Search interfaces in Korea, Russian and Spanish have also been deployed.