In today’s interconnected global economy, more owners of intellectual property assets are realizing the benefits—and, sometimes, the necessity—of protecting those assets, not just within one patent authority but within the world’s key international authorities as well. Those international IP efforts typically generate multiple documents filed with patent authorities around the world. Because all of these documents (which may vary in format and complexity to comply with various applicable legal conventions) ultimately refer to the same invention, they are collectively referred to as a “patent family.” The new enhancements to LexisNexis® TotalPatent®, the world’s most comprehensive patent research tool, make monitoring that Patent Family Tree a more efficient and effective process:
1. Patent Family Tree Tool
A tool that visually depicts relationships between patent applications and publications within a patent family is one of many significant new enhancements to TotalPatent .
The new “Patent Family Tree” feature augments the previously existing ability in TotalPatent to explore a patent family through the software’s interactive “family view.” That feature enables users to quickly retrieve, display, and export all documents within a patent family by selecting any one of those documents for review.
With the addition of the Patent Family Tree feature, TotalPatent users now can display patent families visually to see clearly rendered depictions of the often complex relationships between the patent and its associated documents across the world’s patent authorities. All the information previously found only in “family view” also is available through Patent Family Tree.
Each Patent Family Tree is generated within a timeline-sensitive context that places the patent family’s priority application—the application that was filed first—at the base of the tree. It is then connected to the subsequent applications which also are indexed on the timeline. A color-coded format indicates whether the application is pending or if the patent has been granted. The publication through which the Patent Family Tree report was requested remains highlighted in all views, helping ensure that the patent researcher remains oriented as they familiarize themselves with the parallel patent processes.
2. Enhancements to the application’s signature search functions
Enhanced results filtering allows for the selection or substitution of Boolean “AND” or “OR” operators within a set of returned results. These filters can be applied to the Assignee, Inventor, or Publication Date fields, in addition to the CPC, ECLA, or USPC identification number fields.
3. Improved inventor search
All inventors’ names have been normalized and are available through a user-editable search in the Inventor Lookup tool.
4. “Recent Searches” is now user-editable
In previous releases, extended patent research projects sometimes caused the Recent Searches window to become cluttered, hindering its use as a short-term reference tool while compiling results. With the newest release, TotalPatent users can delete one or more searches from the Recent Searches list in order to retain only those searches that returned the most useful results.
5. Patent Authority is now an exportable field
A popularly requested feature has been added to the export functionality of TotalPatent: when exporting to either comma-delimited or Microsoft Excel format, TotalPatent now allows for the addition of an Authority field. This will display the two-character code of the record’s associated patent authority (e.g., US for USPTO, EP for EPO), allowing for further filtering and sorting within the spreadsheet.