Report:MARPAT on STN/Overview
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The following section contains subjective comments about the system that represent our editor's opinions, and should not be viewed as fact. Editor's opinions include positive and negative judgments about the product written in consideration of wider context, including related products and the industry at large. Further subjective information is presented in clearly labeled "Editor's Notes" throughout the report.
The MARPAT file is a collection of chemical patent records that disclose or claim generic chemical structures. The file is one of only a few existing ways to perform a chemical structure search in patents with generically disclosed chemical compounds, also sometimes known as Markush compounds, which could represent hundreds of individual chemical structures. The indexing necessary to create the MARPAT file began in 1988, and encompassed many of the patenting authorities that were covered by the Chemical Abstracts Service. The file has grown from covering 33 patenting authorities in 2001 to 63 active patenting authorities in 2012.
MARPAT contains only patents which have been indexed into the CAplus database and which generically disclose/claim chemical structures. The content of the database begins from its inception in 1988, but some supplementary Markush structures for certain patents from 1961-1987 have been derived from French (INPI) data. There are some patent-issuing authorities in CAplus which have been excluded from MARPAT: Russian patents are only covered from 2000-present. As of 2009, MARPAT coverage includes Korea. In addition to being restricted to compounds disclosed in patent documents, the database also places some restrictions on the types of chemical structures that are indexed. The database covers only organic or organometallic molecules. Alloys, metal oxides, inorganic salts, intermetallics, and polymers are not indexed.
Structure search queries in MARPAT can be defined broadly and generically. To accomplish this, the database supports a number of variable groups and translation attributes that allow users to create an open-ended structure query. In contrast to command-based structure drawing input interfaces in structure-searchable databases such as the Merged Markush Service (MMS) or Derwent Fragmentation Codes, STN distributes a free graphical structure drawing tool with its STN Express software. To create structure search queries, MARPAT requires users to graphically input a chemical structure, which is then automatically translated into query language. The STN Express structure drawing tool is the same program that is used to create structure queries for the REGISTRY file on STN.
The file is often searched to determine the novelty and freedom to operate for a new chemical compound, along with other independently developed structure searchable Markush files such as the Merged Markush Service (MMS), and the Derwent Fragmentation Codes in the Derwent World Patents Index (DWPI). Each structure searchable file has its strengths and weaknesses. However, due to the legal stakes involved in a novelty investigation on a chemical structure, as many of these independent sources as possible must be consulted in order for the searcher to feel confident in the search results.
Although it supports graphical structure queries, the system’s requirements and capabilities are so complex that at least one training course is required for users to learn to search MARPAT, and usually many more. Chemical structure queries in MARPAT have a substantial cost associated with them, and charges are also assessed for connect hour time and display features on a pay-per-use basis. Because of the difficulty level and the high cost associated with searching the database, using this resource can be stressful for novice users. Fortunately, STN does host a learning file, LMARPAT, which can be used for low-cost training purposes.
Given the current importance of this file in Markush structure searching projects, it should be stated that this review is meant to give some impressions of the service and its mode of use, but is not intended to provide a critical comparison for the purpose of persuading users to choose one service over the other; due to differences of editorial policy in the indexing processes of these files, much of which goes on behind-the-scenes but could greatly impact the outcome of a search, every service of this type may be valuable when it comes to the investigation of a new chemical compound. Typically, the high legal stakes of any such investigation make it essential to query every possible data source.
- ↑ Austin, Robert. “The Complete Markush Structure Search: Mission Impossible?” Presented at the PIUG NE Workshop, October 16, 2001. STN Website, http://www.stn-international.de/training_center/chemistry/piug1.pdf. Accessed on January 28, 2008.
- ↑ Burgess Gin Eggerichs, Lora. "STN: Precision Searching in MARPAT." Presented as e-seminar, October 26, 2010. CAS Event Center- All e-Seminars https://casevents.webex.com. Accessed June 16, 2011.
- ↑ "MARPAT." STN database information sheet, http://www.stn-international.de/uploads/tx_ptgsarelatedfiles/MARPAT_05.pdf. Accessed June 22, 2011.
- ↑ "MARPAT® - The CAS Markush database containing the keys to generic substances in patents." CAS website, http://www.cas.org/expertise/cascontent/marpat.html. Accessed June 22, 2011.