image66

Key features of Patent analysis tools Part 2

There are certain key features that every patent analysis tools must possess to deliver holistic results for any Intellectual Property and Data Management firm. In the previous blog post we covered certain features like patent text mining function, analytical capabilities and search functionality which play a crucial role in providing holistic delivery and intelligence information around patents.  Apart from these there are certain other add-on features which are necessary to build an efficient Patent analysis tool.

1)      Charting and visualization:

The power to convert patent analysis data into charts and powerful graphics is a must have feature for any patent analysis tool.   It comes really handy to have a visual representation of data to export them into reports and presentations. The visuals are usually in the form of pie chart and bar graphs showing the change in patent trends and dominance of a particular segment over the other. A good visualization and reporting component helps convey the insight easily without any need for explanation. Powerful visuals necessitate actions from the information consumers’ typically senior management and result in swift decision making. VIZmap is a visualization module available  with Patent iNSIGHTS Pro for users who seek advance visualization above charts and graphs for semantic exploration within large sets of patent data.

 

Capture

[Figure 1]

2)      Reporting:

 One of the major needs of any organization will be generating reports of various types to suit the need of a particular department. Support for a wide range of flexible report types is useful with output format as word or excel so that the user can modify the report as per needs after it has been generated.

If we take an example of 3D printing , Patent iNSIGHTS Pro generated reports based on research activities around the world for 3D printing. The focus was on generating key statistics   about the companies leading in the domain. We used the the Assignee 360 report option to filter  the top companies and generate the report. The generated report  is then  exported to excel and for further customization  or editing.

 

3)      User Interface and ease of usage:

 There is always a demarcation between patent analysis tools armed with numerous features and one which is simple to use for an average employee. This becomes one more demarcating feature for opting for a patent analysis tool for your organization.  A good solution to this would be: opt for a tool which has an easy to use interface. A very easy to use interface may not always give you that flexibility and range of customization while an extremely complex interface may defeat the purpose and make the process of analyzing data more tedious rather than easier. Look out for an interface which gives you both ease of use along with flexibility of options.

These are the most sought after qualities that an Intellectual Property and Data management organization should look  for while opting  for a patent analysis tool .  Apart from the above mentioned features,  organizations should also look for capabilities like data export, associating custom fields with patent data, a rating or scoring system for measuring performance and quality of data being dealt with.

Key features of Patent Analysis Tool Part 1

Patent analysis tools are developed to provide holistic delivery information and intelligence around patents. They are mostly distinguished in terms of their features and delivery capabilities. In an Intellectual Property and Data Management organization if you are looking for a particular Patent tool to serve the purpose of your organization then ideally what should you be looking out for?  Here is the overview of the various important features found in the most comprehensive patent data analysis tool and what components should you look out for while deciding upon during the evaluation process.

 

1)      Search capabilities: Why should one look out for search analysis in the patent analysis tool when most of the search is already done in the database?  This can be further elucidated with the answer to another question.  What is search in patent analysis? Searching is usually a requirement for custom portfolio, categorization and further it is absolutely critical when going ahead with deeper analysis. Even when looking at a chart, it is important to be able to immediately drill-down from the chart and search through the segmented portion to get to the answer or insight you seek. Finally at lot of time it is absolutely essential to have custom fields such as tags, comments etc. These requirements make it essential to have reliable search capabilities in the analysis tool that you are opting for.

2)      Patent Text mining functions: When working with sets of 10000 records or more if you want to quickly understand what locate topics of interest or sometimes even understand which topics are prominent across the set and what sub-topics they are associated with, a powerful tunable auto-categorization engine is a must. Solutions that are created specifically for mining and clustering patent text are better suited than more general text mining solutions. Generating keyword lists and using such list for statistical analysis is another popular method used to gain insights on trends across companies, inventors and their patents.

3)      Analytics capabilities: One of the major capabilities that should be under the coverage of a patent analysis tool is a co occurrence matrix generating top lists and citation analysis. This feature helps in analysis and spotting trends within certain specific trends or technologies to have better insights into the future of these trends. It’s always good to get a few analytics questions that your organization has, tested and verified using the analytics capabilities so that you are sure if the solution is up to the task of handling your patent intelligence needs.

There are more to the list which one should keep in their mind while looking for a patent analysis tool such as data export features, associating own custom fields with patent data, rating and scoring system. Details analysis of these trends and characteristic features will come up in our next post, a continuation to ‘Key features of patent analysis tool part 2’.

 

Methods for Assignee Normalization

Normalization is the process of efficiently organizing data in to eliminate redundancies.  In patent analysis, Assignee Normalization is a process of preparing clean and accurate Assignee names from the raw data that exists on the published record.  When assignees are not present or organized properly, the accuracy of the analysis is greatly hampered and the results cannot be relied upon. 
 
Let’s summarize the different challenges users face with respect to Assignees when working with patent data. These are: 
  • Unknown Assignees where there isn’t a Assignee name in the publication
  • Unclean Assignee Names (Misspelt or subsidiaries with different company endings)
  • Mergers and Acquisitions of companies
  • Multiple Assignees (or Inventor names appearing in the Assignee field)
The methods used to tackle each of the above challenges are different and there isn’t one size fits all approach possible. In this blog, we will take a look some of these methods.
 
Unknown Assignees
 
There are different methods used to locate probable assignees for records that don’t have one. This aspect is seen in US patent applications that do not have an assignee name until right before grant (mostly because companies don’t want to reveal their identities until the last moment). A user can use the following methods for locating probable Assignee for such records:
  • Locate assignee from INPADOC family information – The INPADOC database provides information of corresponding patent applications in different countries and these may include the assignee name.
  • Locate assignee using Inventor matching – The same inventors may have appeared in patents that have an assignee name. Further if the attorney too is same and/or the filing is around the same time, then one can assume with confidence that the Assignee for the unknown record will be the same.
  • Locate assignee from US Assignments Database (Only for US records) –  US applications may have already had an assignment event at the PTO which would be available from the Assignments database and this would make it easy to lookup the Assignee.
Finally if none of the above work, the user can either manually provide an Assignee name to the record or instruct the software to use the inventor name as Assignee name. Patent iNSIGHT Pro has automated tools for each of the above method that leverage the above logic used and provide Assignee suggestions to the user.
 
Unclean Assignee Names
 
Auto cleanup is used to combine large group of assignee and to create small groups which can be used for further analysis. This process is faster and mostly precise as compared to manual process. This activity can be performed by fuzzy matching, thesaurus matching and regular expression based pattern matching. 
 
Unclean assignee names may be in the form of misspellings of assignee names or subtle differences in naming of a company, occurrences of duplicate entries, no unique assignee records.
Fuzzy algorithm based merging of names might not be effective in cases where names are very short of when names phonetically sound similar (Short Chinese names). For this, we can use manual cleanup, wherein you can create groups manually. In Patent iNSIGHT Pro, a list of all unique assignees present in the patent data set is provided and then the user can choose any one of the above method to merge name. As seen in the figure below, it is evident that the selected set of assignees is the same organization.
 

 
Mergers and Acquisitions
 
In case of US records, for companies to be able to take action on any patent, they must report their ownership to the USPTO as per section37 CFR 3.73 . This information is publicly available in the US Assignment database and is highly valuable resource to track ownership. So if a user wants to find updated ownership information such as change of name, mergers, execution date, assignments database helps in tracking. Patent iNSIGHT Pro integrates with the latest Assignment data and gives current owner suggestions for all US patents and applications.
 

 
Multiple Assignees
 
Instead of having multiple assignee names, for simpler and precise analysis, a single assignee per document is useful. In many cases especially for WO applications, inventor names that as present as co-applicants may show up in the Assignee field and so it’s important to be able to remove these. Patent iNSIGHT Pro has automated tools to identify inventor names in the Assignee field and remove them. The alternative for the user is to manually go through the names which take a lot of time for large datasets.

Using Thesaurus for Categorization

In Patent iNSIGHT Pro the standard thesaurus option allows you to maintain term taxonomies and Assignee groups. Mostly you would be using this for cleanup activities. However recently at a client group meet, I was asked if it was possible to store complex search queries as synonyms for a technology term and manage them in Thesaurus type files.

Before describing how, I will quickly explain the need. Most users create multiple UDC (User Defined Categories) sets as custom data points to map/analyze a patent set. Categories can be – By Functionality, By Ingredient, By Product, By Technology-specific class etc. To begin with a user creates the category schema and then using Advanced Search, performs complex searches within the report and pushes the resulting patents into each category. So it appears logical to save the searches done along with the category name in fashion similar to a thesaurus. This is helpful not just for automation but also to allow for future use in a different report.

So lets get to how we can do this. There is an option introduced last year called Create UDC from Excel, which allows you to prepare these categories-search mappings and store them in Excel files. These files are like Thesauruses that you can manage and extend over time.

For example, let’s take the Fuel Additives technology space. There was a report we did on this that is available here.

A portion of the categorization from the report is shown below:

Say we wanted to have a thesaurus for the Fuel Additive categories listed under “Types”. A Sample Excel Thesaurus for this shown below:

Note: I have shown only some of the categories under Types.

In the excel sheet notice that search strings are treated as synonyms and separated by a comma. By default, each string is assumed to be searched against full-text but if you want to restrict it to a portion then you can do so as shown for Lubricants above. Also for Lubricants you can see that, synonyms may not be a text term and can also be an IPC code (or USPC/ECLA) too.

The comma can be replaced with an OR operator to create a single search string without affecting results. Although managing different shorter strings as synonyms separated by a comma is easier to interpret and resembles a thesaurus.

The Excel file can be passed to the Create UDC from Excel feature and at the preview stage you can even drag-drop the category to create a hierarchy.

The synonyms (aka search strings) are searched in the text of patents and the results are pushed into corresponding categories.

So the excel file like the one shown above works like a thesaurus which you can prepare and maintain for your technology categorization purposes. It is also more flexible than a typical thesaurus since:

  • you can combine non-text portions such as Classification codes
  • you can use proximity operators within words
  • you can force some words to be searched only in claims and some other in full-text within the same synonym group
  • you can include ignore words by using NOT operator

The last point is pretty useful. For example a thesaurus entry for Antivirus (in biochemical field) can be:

Antivirus (Antivirus not w/5 (computer or network or internet)),

(Anti-virus not w/5 (computer or network or internet)),

(Protease w/2 inhibitor*),

Ribozyme,

Doesn’t this seem like the obvious thing to do if you want to save and automate the process of categorizing records for use in other reports?

Building On Demand Patent Analysis Capabilities – Tips For Speedy IP Insights

For most IP professionals the capabilities in terms of undertaking patent analytics to deliver broader trends within specific patent sets are determined by what kind of insights they can come up with which will support decision making, new product development, marketing and other areas. It’s a skill perfected by working with large patent sets across numerous categories over a significant amount of time and experienced patent analysts have become indispensable to the innovation driven organizations. While some organizations can hire this talent, others prefer to engage the services of professional patent analysts who can deliver patent landscapes and reports based on the requirements submitted. Important decisions are often made on the basis of these patent insights and the knowledge requirements for such data usually surface in two scenarios:

1)   Where in-depth analysis needs to be done across a number of different technology areas where multiple patent sets need to be created. These then need to be analyzed to answer several highly specific questions such as “How can the number of forward citations on a set of our patents be compared to a similar set of patents from our competitors over the past 5 years?” These insights need to be processed and delivered when ready and time is not a serious concern as they are needed more for knowledge than immediate decisions.

2)   Where quick answers or broader insights are needed quickly to have immediate birds-eye view of things before going into a decision which again needs to be made in a short time period. For example, a company going into a meeting with another company that holds patents on XYZ technology which the former is interested in licensing. Now if they need to know “What aspects of the overall technology space are dependent on XYZ technology, how active are other firms in the space and does it cover most Asian and European markets that we wish to operate in?” In this scenario, speed is of the essence and realistically there may not be enough time to engage a third party firm to carry out analysis.

The second scenario is the one where organizations that have their own IP knowledge resources and capabilities have the upper hand. It need not be expensive or complicated to build those capabilities which one can rely on to generate these on demand patent analysis. With software solutions like Patent iNSIGHT Pro , various analytics, insights and even landscapes can be generated fairly quickly when required.  As a best practice, if IP professionals within the company frequently create, store, categorize and sort through the patent sets on areas relevant to their organizations, the process of creating on demand reports and analysis becomes that much quicker.

Most time is spent not just on the analysis side of things but in locating the right patents, searching for specific data, categorizing data and re-work on the search strategy. By doing these tasks once and saving them so that they can be quickly retrieved when needed, significant time can be saved and the process of generating reports to look at broader trends or creating on-demand analysis reports can be speeded up.

For example, when we carry out research for our series of Technology Insight Reports , we first decide what kind of insights we would need from this technology. Based on this, we search through a patent database and create the patent sets we would need to analyze for the project. In some cases such as the report on LED Lighting Technology where we needed to compare LED based Lighting patent filings with that of Fluorescent and Incandescent technologies, separate patent sets needed to be created for each technology and saved. Once stored however, it was easy to go back and pull up those patent sets every time a new type of analysis has to be done.

So if speed is an important factor when it comes to building and delivering quick IP insights for your organization, focus first on identifying the patent sets and categories you will frequently require. Save them, categorize or sort them once and the rest will be simpler!

Focusing on core and managing research data efficiently during IP analysis

For IP professionals working in a patent law firm, a R&D driven company, research facility or even in a service provider, managing patent research process is plagued with inefficiencies.  With consumers of research information asking for faster turnaround times albeit with higher accuracies every professional must look into his/her research workflow and locate inefficiencies that are delaying the overall analysis process.
Based on our experience of working with researchers across a diverse set of organizations, we have split the overall activities performed by researchers into various core activities.
Core Activities Tools needed to speed up execution
Devising the search strategy Database to allow quick checking and refining of the search as the search made more precise.
Consolidating multiple searches into a common portfolio
Claims Analysis, Review and Rating, Narrowing down Generating Claims comparison charts
Claims Tree generation
Similarity search and tools to conduct advanced search (proximity/left-truncation etc) on claims
Tagging or scoring tools to mark important records as you come across them
Independent Claims exporting
Different patent text export formats including export of face pages for rapid review and scanning in a team environment
Categorizing and bucketing records Auto-Categorization to discover unique concepts and clusters present in the set
Tools to easily and efficiently create buckets and bucketise patents as you review them
Advanced search tools to dig through the data efficiently
Generating  charts, comparisons and dashboards that capture the insight you want to give Grouping and efficient slice-dice tools to accelerate the analysis process
Efficient matrix generators that allows you to compare 2, 3 or more properties at a time
Automated charting tools to convert filtered data quickly into a chart
Ready to use dashboards that allow you to gain insights and generate common analysis charts quickly
An IP research and analysis solution  can provide  IP professionals, tools to leverage at each stage of core activity execution so that they can focus on core activities without getting slowed down by procedures.
Working with IP data is characterized by working with a large input data sources and a large number of output data sources. To carry out what should be a well-researched analysis in a technology space would involve a patent database, several patent documents, patent text files, spreadsheets, working files, charts and reports. A lot of this becomes overwhelming when working only with spreadsheets. For example, the outputs alone would involve working with several spreadsheets let alone the spreadsheets which actually hold the source information and the working / analysis.  There are just too many files and data sheets to work with in different places and that’s often what makes the process difficult.
In addition to provision different analytic tools, an efficient analytics platform can also consolidate and organize these multiple files and data sheets into a single location so as to simplify management of the process.
Consolidation has been a key ingredient of the technology architecture of the Patent iNSIGHT Pro that also functions as an IP knowledge management software. From bringing together various patent databases and data sources to creating single view reporting dashboards for easy reviewing of outputs having all your data within reach from a single system alone improves the speed at which you can access IP intelligence.  It eliminates the need to navigate through several instances of Excel spreadsheets, various tabs with different data sources and multiple files across the desktop and allows you to manage everything through one interface. As a step torwards consolidating different analytics into a single view, the 360° series of reports one of the newer features on Patent iNSIGHT Pro for example, consolidates a number of report outputs into a single page dashboard view which is quicker and simpler to present and review as compared to a dozen output spreadsheet printouts which can take longer to comprehend.
If you find your IP research and associated information management process overwhelming with multiple files and data sheets across too many locations …consolidate! You will find things can become a lot quicker and far simpler.

Interactive Intellectual Property Research Delivery – and Paperless too

A very recently published article by David Flint and Valerie Surgenor titled “United Kingdom: Innovators Encouraged To Go Paperless” emphasizes the calls from various governments around the world in recent times to cut down on paper intensive work processes. This measure in the UK comes just as Gene Quinn’s IP Watchdog carried a post titled “President Obama Call USPTO Filling System Embarrassing” where Gene points out:

“Essentially, President Obama said that the way the Patent Office handles electronically filed patent applications is to print them and scan them. Sadly, that is not true, or is at least extremely misleading. It is certainly true that the Patent Office used to do things that way, but since the new EFS Web system was unveiled on March 16, 2006, electronically filed patent applications are not printed and then scanned.”

The Intellectual Property research process, albeit different from patent office work, is also a data intensive one and in recent times appears to be moving towards electronic and interactive outputs as opposed to paper based reports or static PDFs.

At Patent iNSIGHT Pro, we see a similar trends. Analysts who used the product two years back to prepare reports in Word/Excel/PDFs/PowerPoint are now asking for enterprise class implementations where they can set up online dashboard for the information consumers. This is as true for in-house counsels, as it is for service providers who want to give secure access to such interactive dashboards to their clients.

When it comes to IP research, speed is of the essence as is access to those within an organization who need it. Whether needed by management, product development teams, legal team or business development teams, the need to get the information required and a live dashboard with built in analytics features of drill-down and filtering goes well to serve the needs of multiple different people. While working with static reports this is severe road block.  Usually when CxOs are presented with the research output they would have further questions and its very convenient and effective if they can quickly answer that right then from a real-time interactive dashboard.

All taken into consideration while reducing paper usage is a good enough reason to start shifting towards more automated means of managing all the research being done, it’s not the only reason to consider it. Automated delivery of research output and interactive analytics at the front end is clearly the way forward and cannot be achieved if the research is scattered across in physical documents, PDFs, spreadsheets and other documents

Charge-Coupled Device – The Electronic Eye

Willard Boyle and George Smith are two innovators who just last week got the recognition they long deserved for their contribution which quite literally changed the way we see the world. The two Nobel laureates who were presented their Nobels for Physics in Norway last week invented the charge-coupled device which most of us commonly know as the CCD which is the core technology used by digital cameras today. What is fascinating is Boyle and Smith had invented the CCD 40 years ago back in 1969 and though all these years later as they collect what is perceived to be the highest accolade in science, perhaps the bigger prize was seeing how the finger nail sized device they came up with touched the lives of so many.

One of the largest impact it’s had is in the development of the digital photo camera which almost each of us own whether in the form of an SLR camera, a point and shoot digital camera or even one that’s housed in our mobile phones.  The core CCD technology is now being used in a variety of technologies and almost all electronic and appliances firms are involved in applications around it.

To see who is active and aggressive in CCD related research, we did a broad search on CCD technology and using Patent iNSIGHT Pro came up with a couple of quick stats. The first one is the overall trend across key Assignees that shows that while Samsung and Kodak have been periodically  filing for patents in this space, recent research has subsided for other large companies such as Hyundai, Fuji and Sony. One can easily see the emergence of Hon Hai precision Co as a recent company in this space.

To confirm this further, we split the company portfolios across 5 year sets (2000-2004) and (2005-2010) to compare their trends:

The above chart shows that big companies that have renewed interest in CCD and related technologies are Siemens, Honeywell, General Electric, Philips and Xerox. The activity analysis further shows some firms building targeted portfolios such as Hong Fu Jin Precision Co, Chemimage, Avision and ASML Holdings NV.

The trends of General Electric and Hon Hai Precision clearly stand out since both do not have any filings that talk about CCDs in 2000-2004 and have 16 and 68 filings respective in the last 5 years. To find out the focus areas of these filings, we used text clustering on the individual portfolios of each company. The analysis showed that the GE filings focus on Radiation detection, Scintillators, Plasma spectroscopy and X-rays. Hon Hai Precision Co’s focus was more on camera lens for imaging, monitoring and measuring across a variety of areas right from vehicular systems to cameras.

Finally, to know the different research areas in which CCD technology has grown into and their trends we took the IPC distribution again across a 5 year period and compares the growth/decay from 2000-2004 period to 2005-2010 period. This is shown below:

To sum up, forty years into the technology life-cycle, CCD is still going strong with companies across the world still discovering new applications in various areas with the help of this device.

Patent Analysis Tools For Intellectual Property Law Firms – The IP Intelligence Advantage

Access to the best possible intelligence is the backbone of any practicing law firm and investments in research and information enhancement capabilities often translates directly into being able to build strong cases for clients. There is no exception to intellectual property law firms when it comes to building intelligence assets.

Most ongoing engagement with clients requires a law firm to have access to quick insights from the set of patents relevant to the case. Insights from having records in a research and analysis platform can immensely help the engagement at different stages.

Here is a quick summary of how patent analysis tools can assist external attorneys in their client engagements:

  • Firms can efficiently manage IP records that are being researched as part of different client engagements. Searches being done internally or being received from external service providers can be integrated into a common portfolio where the attorney can conduct finer review, refinement and analysis.
  •  Attorneys can quickly open these portfolios in front of a client during a meeting to back up the advise or insight being given.
  • Patent analysis tools can help attorneys focus on the legal review aspect and spend less time in preparing data and results to to support ongoing litigations.
  • For most clients, patent text is often quite raw and technical in nature and perhaps not suitable when making a clear statement. Solutions with good analytics and reporting capabilities help present the data in a very clear graphical or tabular format which helps law firms bring out the facts plain and simple in a fashion that makes sense to end users.
  • Advanced Search Capabilities in tools like Patent iNSIGHT Pro, include features such as SLART (Simultaneous left and right truncation), Approximate searching, Quick similarity matching between Claims across full text of other records can be very useful when conducting infringement and patentability studies.
  • Tools such as keyword generation and clustering that summarize very specific words, sentences, phrases and even topics within patents could offer a huge advantage when drafting new product application in a congested technology space. ( Here is an earlier article that spoke about how keyword analysis can be done on claims.)
  • Ability to narrow down and efficiently analyze the right patent set  can help conduct preliminary research before filing for new applications for clients. It allows law firms to know of any objections or obstacles patent officers might have even before starting the application process.
  • Many small and  mid-sized technology firms that do not have internal IP research capabilities increasingly rely on external counsel for advice on overall IP strategy. Having the right tools to detect infringement, monitor competitor information, study trends, track recent activity and gather crucial facts is critical for such engagements.
  • Ongoing Litigation activity also requires data to be analyzed and presented suitably in the court as evidence to back a claim.

Access to intellectual property and patent information per se is not difficult. Being able to have quick access and answers to very specific questions and being able to retrieve facts with speed and ease is what can offer IP and patent law firms the upper hand in their daily practice and the right patent data analysis software can help unlock this advantage.

Key Features of Patent Analysis Tools

Patent analysis tools though all geared to deliver information and intelligence around patents are often different in terms of their features and capabilities. How do you know what features to look for in a solution that would help your organization? Here is a brief overview of the various important features found in most comprehensive patent data analysis tools and  what components to look out for during the evaluation process.

Search Capabilities

In most cases the search has already been done on a database, so why would you want search in an analysis solution? Searching is usually a requirement for custom portfolio categorization and further its critical when conducting deeper analysis such as infringement or FTO. Even when looking at a chart, its important to be able to immediately drill-down from the chart and search through the segmented portion to get to the answer or insight you seek. Finally, many a time you have your custom fields such as  Docket Ids, tags, comments etc associated with each record and you would like to include these in your search.

Patent Text Mining functions

When working with sets of 10000 records or more if you want to quickly understand what locate topics of interest or sometimes even understand which topics are prominent across the set and what sub-topics they are associated with, a powerful tunable auto-categorization engine is a must.Solutions that are created specifically for mining and clustering patent text are better suited than more general text mining solutions. Generating keyword lists and using such list for statistical analysis is another popular method used to gain insights on trends across companies, inventors and their patents.

Analytics Capabilities

Some of the capabilities that should be covered are co-occurrence matrices, generating top 10/20/50 lists and  citation analytics. Together they help analyze relationships and spot trends within a certain space and lifecycles of technologies and more. Drilling-down to the actual patents from any of the functions is key.  It’s always good to get a few analytics questions that your organization has, tested and verified using the analytics capabilities so that you are sure if the solution is up to the task of handling your patent intelligence needs.

Charting and Visualization

Converting the results from patent analysis into a powerful visual or graphical representation with ease is a definite must. In many cases exporting visuals to image files is  critical so that they can be reused in your reports or power-points. A good visualization and reporting component helps convey the insight easily without any need for explanation. Powerful visuals necessitate actions from the information consumers typically senior management and result in swift decision making.

Reporting

Generating different styles of reports to suit varying needs across an organization is perhaps the most common activity. Support for a wide range of flexible report types is useful with output format as word or excel so that the user can modify the report as per needs after it has been generated.

User Interface & Ease of Use

There is always a fine balance between having a feature loaded analytics software tools  packed to the brim with options and one that is easy to use even for  someone with relatively little experience of patent information. A good solution in this respect is one that has a relatively easy to use user interface which one can get familiar with in a short time and at the same time have the flexibility and options to allow the user to customize features, options and the environment that they will be working with regularly when any patent analysis has to be done. A very easy to use interface may not always give you that flexibility and range of customization while an extremely complex interface may defeat the purpose and make the process of analyzing data more tedious rather than easier. Look out for an interface which gives you both ease of use along with flexibility of options.

Apart from the above some of the other capabilities to look for are data export features, associating your own custom fields with patent data, rating or scoring system and performance at 10000+ record levels.