Patent Data Quality for Reliable Legal Opinions
Having access to accurate and complete patent data is imperative for any patent professional looking to provide exceptional service to their clients. When patent professionals provide counsel based on incomplete patent information, the reliability of their opinions cannot be certain, and in turn, a certain amount of risk transfers to the patent clients who depend on their attorney’s advice. For example, when patent practitioners evaluate the results of a freedom-to-operate search, which is intended to help clients avoid infringing existing patent rights, failing to evaluate critical patent documents due to incomplete search results could result in a patent infringement lawsuit. Moreover, practitioners cannot evaluate client patent portfolios and competitor patent portfolios with certainty unless every patent document within the portfolios is accounted for. Patent data quality is essential for all patent practitioners.
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Patent Data Quality
Although quality patent data is necessary to ensure effective patent counsel, it is surprisingly hard to come by. One reason for patent professionals having to rely on incomplete patent information is that most patent databases only contain patent records specific to a limited geographic area, such as the United States Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO) Patent Full-Text and Image Database (PatFT), that only provides access to patents filed with the USPTO. Patent practitioners, therefore, frequently need to be selective about the patent databases they access, or otherwise must spend more time searching various databases than their clients are willing to pay for.
Another issue that arises is that companies are frequently inconsistent with the names listed on their patent records, which makes it hard to retrieve complete company patent records of a company by searching for their name alone. Here are some of the most common reasons for naming inconsistencies.
- The use of alternative company names in patent records: Many companies go by more than one name, and that fact is reflected in their patent filings. General Electric, for example, is commonly referred to as “GE,” but also holds patents under “General Electric Company” and “General Electric Co.,” among other similar names.
- Failure to consider affiliate and subsidiary patents: Many companies use affiliate companies and subsidiaries to house their intellectual property. The names of these companies can differ greatly from the name of the parent company, making them difficult to find through traditional patent search methods.
- Patent applications filed with clerical issues: Even the wealthiest companies and the most expensive patent attorneys make mistakes here and there. When typographical errors occur in a company name, the affected patent records might fly under the radars of patent searchers.
Patent Data Harmonization Ensures Reliable Patent Data
The issues that affect patent data quality are more than a patent professional can overcome alone. Not only does the PatentSight® innovation analytics platform allow users to access patent records from worldwide patent authorities in a single search, but the patent records it provides also go through a multi-stage data harmonization process to address the problem of identifying the ultimate commercial owner of a patent family. PatentSight data harmonization is achieved by a team of experienced researchers who focus solely on checking patent data for relationships among differing company names. PatentSight then cross-links all related records, which allows the PatentSight platform to return more complete search results that users can rely on with greater confidence.
By providing access to global patent records that go through a meticulous data harmonization process, PatentSight improves patent data quality so patent professionals can better serve their clients.
To find out how LexisNexis Intellectual Property Solutions is able to provide world-class patent data, download the Handbook for Patent Data Quality.
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