Innovation is centrally important to economic development—the health of the economy can be measured in part by the number, type, and quality of patents issued by patent-granting authorities such as the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO). The USPTO’s mission is to encourage innovation and entrepreneurship in the U.S., and this is supported by its open-data platform.
Part of that platform, PatentsView, offers 40 years’ worth of information about investors, their organizations, and their locations. Established in 2012 and led by AIR, PatentsView is a collaboration among the USPTO, AIR, the U.S. Department of Agriculture, New York University, the University of California at Berkeley, Twin Arch Technologies, and Periscopic. It was developed as a web-based tool for the public and offers a variety of ways to interactively engage with its data.
PatentsView offers a variety of products—for use by researchers, business and policy analysts, small business and entrepreneurs, educators, patent examiners, and others—including:
- A web-based visualization platform with search, map view, comparison tool, and summary view (www.patentsview.org);
- An application programming interface (API) with flexible query language and documentation (www.patentsview.org/api);
- A bulk data download section with all data parsed from raw patent files (www.patentsview.org/download); and
- A query tool (www.patentsview.org/query).
PatentsView also benefits from using cutting-edge machine learning and database engineering methods and tools. For example, an algorithm developed in conjunction with the University of Massachusetts at Amherst uses techniques to identify unique individuals potentially patenting under the same name. If two people named John Smith file a patent, the algorithm takes multiple datapoints into account to determine if they are the same person. Information from PatentsView can also be used to examine trends in patent investment, such as a report looking at women investors specifically.