Gridlogics Technologies, an IT firm based in Pune, India, is joining a growing number of organizations that are looking to help IP professionals quickly draw conclusions from vast amounts of patent information.
Next month, the company plans to launch a hosted version of its flagship patent-mining product, Patent Insight Pro, which is currently available only as a desktop package.
The company plans to follow that with a new product called Visual Insight Pro, an online visualization tool for generating “clusters” of patents and related information that users can quickly navigate in order to explore the IP landscape around a given technology area.
Gridlogics demonstrated a beta version of the visualization software at the recent Association of University Technology Managers conference in San Diego.
Last week, Manish Sinha, chief technology officer for Gridlogics, told Biotech Transfer Week that the company plans to have it ready for launch by the Patent Information Users Group conference at the end of May.
Sinha said that the company was formed four years ago with a focus on text-mining services and technology and soon decided to focus primarily on the IP market in order to meet the high demand for patent research in India. After building a strong customer base in India — the company claims that around half of the country’s pharma and biotech companies use Patent Insight Pro — it began targeting the US market last year.
Since then, Sinha said, “we started doing more and more marketing and trying to get traction with other companies in the US.” He said that one of the company’s goals in the year ahead is to open a “dedicated” US sales and marketing office.
The firm faces its fair share of competition. A growing number of companies — from large, well-established information providers like Thompson Scientific, which offers a suite of analytical tools in addition to its Derwent patent database, to small startups like SparkIP, which is developing an IP “clearinghouse” with its own set of visualization tools [see BTW 10/22/07] — are promising to help IP researchers make sense of text-heavy patent information (see table, below, for an overview of some offerings in this area).
“Every client is different. You might get two or three clients in the same technology space and they each have a different perspective and a different question that needs to be answered.”
Sinha said that Patent Insight Pro is different from many of these tools because it’s not a patent database. “It’s more of an internal patent information management system where you can collect data from many different sources and then you have tools to mine and analyze through the information to discover relationships,” he said.
One advantage of the software, he said, is its ability to cluster patents into similar categories based entirely on the text within the patent claims, in addition to clustering based on US and international patent classification numbers. The software also allows users to define their own categories for clusters and subclusters, he said.
“The software mines through the patents and identifies key concepts. Then it ranks all these concepts, eliminates those that are not that relevant, and develops them into clusters,” he said. “The user has multiple tools to refine that once it is done, such as by providing technology-specific information like synonyms of a particular drug, or relating context.”
After that, he said, there are additional analytical tools that allow users to identify trends within the data, such as “whether a company has been focusing on one cluster over a period of time and [whether] it has transitioned from patenting in one technology space to another.”
Shane Davis, search manager at IP research firm Washington Patent Services, said that the ability to customize the clusters is a “very important” feature of the software.
He said that he began using Patent Insight Pro about a year ago after evaluating several other options, including VxInsight from Sandia National Laboratory and BizInt Smart Charts for Patents from BizInt Solutions.
“Every client is different. You might get two or three clients in the same technology space and they each have a different perspective and a different question that needs to be answered,” he said. Patent Insight Pro “allows you to customize those clusters to get those correct answers to your clients.”
In practice, Davis said he first performs a broad search for some key terms, and then downloads those patents into the software in order to cluster the patents based on the content in the documents. “Then you’ll be able to get a really good indication of how tightly clustered the technology is, and if, for example, the client is looking for what’s called a white space — a void in a specific area of technology that they can perhaps invent into, or develop technology to fill in order to gain a good foothold in the marketplace.”
Davis noted that he is currently working with Gridlogics to speed up the document downloading process — a key improvement in light of the growing body of patent data.
“If you’re doing a landscape investigation into any type of a blood thinner, for example, you’re going to end up downloading thousands of documents and the majority of your analysis time is going to be spent waiting for them to get from the electronic storage into the software,” he said.
Sinha said that the hosted version of Patent Insight Pro is expected to address this problem by giving organizations the option to host their own databases on a secure server that is easily accessible from the software.
Further improvement is expected to come with the launch of Visual Insight Pro, which will allow users to integrate additional types of information with patent data — such as financial information about patent assignees, litigation histories, market data, and licensing information. Sinha said that Gridlogics plans to partner with various data providers in order to integrate this type of information more closely with the system.
Patent Databases and IP Analysis Tools
|Company or Organization||Product(s)|
|Patent Databases||Chemical Abstracts Service||Suite of analysis tools built around the STN patent database, including STN Express, STN AnaVist, and STN Viewer|
|LexisNexis||A range of patent databases and services, including the TotalPatent database, IP Data Direct-Patents, and PatentOptimizer|
|Thomson Scientific||Broad selection of patent databases, tools, and services, including the Derwent and Delphion databases and PatentLab, SnapShot, and Citation Link tools|
|Patent-Mining and Analysis Tools||BizInt Solutions||BizInt Smart Chart for Patents|
|IP and Technology Aggregators||Kauffman Foundation||iBridge Network|