Report:QPAT/Data Coverage/Patent Coverage/Bibliographic Coverage
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|As of January 1, 2013, both QPAT and PatentExaminer have been discontinued, and they have been replaced by the Orbit.com portal.|
QPAT’s bibliographic records are stored within the FamPat and PlusPat files, which draw from the EPO's INPADOC/DOCDB files, and also from the historical EDOC file (formerly produced by INPI, the French Patent Office, and now no longer available). The difference between FamPat and PlusPat is in their family organization structures; the data content should be the same. Where available, original or machine-translated abstracts originally present in the source data will be available in the FamPat/PlusPat files.
At the end of 2007, Questel began adding machine translated English titles and abstracts for German (DE), French (FR), Japanese (JP), South Korean (KR) and Chinese (CN) documents (this data is from 2007 forward; a backfile has not been produced). In addition, at the same time the company began receiving Asian data from JP, KR and CN (and later Taiwan, TW) on a “fast track” (from an outside producer): bibliographic data for documents from these countries will appear in the FamPat and PlusPat files within 2-3 weeks of publication. In 2009 Questel added enhanced bibliographic data collections for Asian countries, including:
- Original English-language bibliographic data for Indian (IN) patent documents, which is comprehensive back to 2005 but contains some data back to 1975,
- Machine-translated bibliographic data for Taiwan (TW) back to 1993, and
- Human translated bibliographic data for Korean (KR) documents back to 1978.
In addition, QPAT notes that they have invested additional time and energy into supplementing their Korean (KR) collection. According to a QPAT representative, machine translations for the KR collection are replaced with hand translated English abstracts as soon as they are available from KIPRIS. Further, a June 2009 press release announced that hand translations assignee data for both the JP and KR collections will be produced from May 2009 onward.
The 2008 addition of machine-translated English titles and abstracts to the FamPat file is a unique advantage to the data collection. The machine translation data is produced in-house at Questel, making this resource a potentially independent one from other search services that add their own machine translated data to bibliographic records, such as Minesoft PatBase.
Produced by Questel-Orbit, the FamPat database is a simple family database (type 1 as described in the Patent Families article). It does apply some additional corrective techniques to Japanese documents, which allows it to identify Japanese publications which really do belong to a certain family, even if their priority information is not exactly the same. According to a Questel representative, these corrective measures are performed by an automated system, not an intellectual re-grouping effort.
FamPat will display a representative family member for each family in the database – this is usually done in a way that ensures the English-language document is chosen. However, via the system settings in QPAT, users can set their own preferences for what type of document will be shown as the representative.
Another notable feature about the FamPat file is that it contains text excerpts from the patents themselves, called “Key Content” by Questel. These excerpts are produced by linguistic extraction from the full text documents for families containing EP, US, and WO records, and consist of "Patent Object," "Advantages and Previous Patent Drawbacks," as well as "Independent Claims." Questel has partnered with Lingway, a company that specializes in linguistic analysis and semantic text processing, to be able to extract this key content from the patent full text. Key content is only extracted from EP, US, and WO patent family members. The figure below shows an example of this content in a FamPat family record.
The goal of including this extracted "Key Content" in the FamPat bibliographic/family file is to distill the important content of the major family members. The purpose of including only these targeted text excerpts is to reduce the white noise and false hits that can occur when searching full text files.
The FamPat file does not include significant additional bibliographic data sources beyond what is included in DOCDB. In addition to its "Key Content" text excerpts, the file contains title and abstract data, clipped images, citations with relevancy indicators, and current classification data (including US, IPC, ECLA, ICO (in-computer-only codes), and Japanese F-I/F-terms).
FamPat was introduced a few years after the PlusPat file, and offers an alternative to the restrictive family limitations in PlusPat. To learn more about FamPat families, see the Family Data section of this article.
With FamPat, Questel can be suspected of following the successful model of the Derwent World Patents Index, a bibliographic/family file that contains re-written titles and abstracts created by a professional indexing team. However, FamPat's key content is extracted by machine, rather than created by human indexers, making the file much cheaper to produce, but without human indexing value added.
The PlusPat file was the original patent family database offered by Questel-Orbit. The family structures was based on strict patent family standards used internally for the EPO’s examiner database, EDOC/EPODOC (EDOC was the commercial version of EPODOC, and was produced by the French Patent Office). PlusPat contains only corresponding publication stages related to the same application; for example, a US published application and the corresponding US patent are grouped together into a “domestic” patent family (type 5 as described in the Patent Families article). The file contains title and abstract data, clipped images, citations with relevancy indicators, and current classification data (including US, IPC, ECLA, ICO (in-computer-only codes), and Japanese F-I/F-terms). PlusPat is currently created from DOCDB data. The file does not contain the "Key Content" text excerpts that are present in FamPat.
The original PlusPat database came from the logic used in the European patent examiner’s database, EPODOC. In organizing their database, the EPO grouped together all publication stages for a single patent, thereby preventing the unnecessary duplication caused by retrieving the published application, and the granted patent, as two separate hits. Thus, the PlusPat family definition is not really a theory of patent families; it is really just a convenient way to prevent coming across multiple publication stages of the same document during a search.
PlusPat does not contain any “Key content” text as FamPat does, but the records do contain bibliographic information, abstracts, and classifications, including ECLA, IPC, and US classes. Patent and non-patent citation data is also available. Search reports, patent and bibliographic cited references are available for:
- Australia (AU)
- Belgium (BE)
- Cyprus (CY)
- Denmark (DK)
- European Patent Office (EP)
- Finland (FI)
- France (FR)
- Germany (DE)
- Italy (IT)
- Japan, published applications (JP-A) and grants (JP-B)
- The Netherlands (NL)
- Patent Cooperation Treaty (WO/PCT)
- Spain (ES)
- Switzerland (CH)
- Turkey (TR)
- United Kingdom (GB)
- United States (US)
In addition, relevancy indicators are also searchable; see Citation Coverage for more information. As with FamPat, the file also contains machine translated English titles and abstracts for DE, FR, JP, KR, TW and CN documents from 2007 forward. PlusPat also receives the “fast track” Asian bibliographic data from JP, KR, CN, and TW within 2-3 weeks of publication, as well as the English-language bibliographic collections for IN (original English), KR (human translations) and TW (machine translations) added in 2009.
PlusPat is produced by Questel, and it is accessible through QPAT; by changing the default settings users can make PlusPat their primary family database. Using PlusPat groups hits by only including various publication stages; in contrast, using FamPat groups hits (including their various publication stages) into larger families of related documents which all share the same original priority.
Even when PlusPat is chosen as the preferred family database, FamPat data is still used to group hits into patent families. There is no way to use PlusPat as a grouping tool in QPAT.
FamPat/PlusPat Country Coverage
The following coverage dates were obtained from the system's user guide materials and represent the reported start dates for each collection. Although it seems clear that the system uses INPADOC as a major source of its bibliographic data, the system also provides this table of coverage information, which contains coverage dates that may not exactly match those provided by the EPO for the current INPADOC file. Bibliographic coverage information in the table below which appears to differ from what is available in INPADOC is denoted by an asterisk * symbol. Please note the date that this information was last updated, which is shown above the table. See Downloading INPADOC Coverage for the current coverage in the INPADOC bibliographic file.
Please note that gaps in coverage may exist in any collection due to a number of factors, such as missing documents, scanning errors, OCR errors, even failure of national and regional patent offices to report data. No data source can be considered 100% complete, and searchers should consult as many unique data sources as possible. See this article for a discussion of unique worldwide bibliographic and family data collections, such as INPADOC, the Derwent World Patents Index, and CAplus.
Notably, although the EPO's INPADOC/DOCDB file is the major source for QPAT's FamPat and PlusPat files, the QPAT user materials show slightly different coverage than the most current EPO coverage data. For example, QPAT claims coverage of Trinidad and Tobago (TT), while the EPO does not. Upon investigation, it seems that only three records are present with a TT country code in QPAT, and these are present in the EPO's esp@cenet database also. So it seems fair to say that the QPAT bibliographic files do not offer substantial coverage beyond EPO data.
Also notably, when the EPO introduced Costa Rica (CR), Ecuador (EC), and Peru (PE) into its data feeds beginning in week 52/2008, QPAT had already loaded this new INPADOC content on the Monday of that introductory week, 12/22/2008. Empirical testing showed that this data was available on QPAT earlier than it was available from competitors Thomson Innovation, PatBase, and Delphion. However, QPAT did not list these countries as covered by the FamPat/PlusPat files for many weeks after this data's introduction.
Given these factors, it is generally safe for users to assume that despite somewhat out-of-date user coverage information, FamPat/PlusPat data corresponds to no more or less than the most recent INPADOC/DOCDB coverage, and that very timely updates to these files occur from EPO data feeds.
|Country||Country Code||Coverage (from)|
|Bosnia and Herzegovina||BA||1998|
|EPO citations to Publications||XP||1835|
|Great Britain (1909)||GB||1963|
|Korea, Republic of||KR||1978|
|Trinidad & Tobago||TT||1994|
|United States (1920)||US||1968|
|WIPO (PCT) Applications||WO||1978|
- ↑ E-mail correspondence from Questel representative, received June 18, 2009.
- ↑ "Summer e-communique: Focus on Asia." Questel website, http://www.questel.com/emailing/ecommunique_summer2009.htm. Accessed on June 23, 2009.
- ↑ "Questel•Orbit & Lingway sign Exclusive Agreement to Incorporate Technology Improving Full-Text Patent Reading Efficiency." Press Release, December 02, 2003. Questel website, http://www.questel.com/en/news/press/Lingway.pdf. Accessed on September 23, 2008.
- ↑ "QPAT's FamPat coverage information." QPAT website, http://www.qpat.com/help/en/fampat.htm. Accessed on September 02, 2008.
- ↑ "Questel’s FamPat Fact Sheet." Questel website, http://www.questel-orbit.fr/EN/customersupport/userdoc/fctsht/FamPat.pdf. Accessed on September 02, 2008.