Report:Delphion/Viewing Results/Viewing Patent Citations

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DWPI on Delphion is no longer available, as of March 31, 2012. DWPI data is available on the Thomson Innovation platform.

Viewing Citations

Patent Citations

Patent citations from the US documents, or as Delphion calls them, “References,” are displayed as part of the integrated record view (which also includes bibliographic, full text and some legal status data). A foreign record will show a US citation if a US document happens to cite it; however, no foreign search reports are included in the Delphion system.

Somewhat unusually, Delphion displays the citations without separating them into forward and backward citation groups; instead, they are split into “US References” and “Foreign References” tables. This is probably because all citation data in Delphion comes from the US patent collection, so it is naturally divided into US and foreign citation sections


A collection of citation records from the integrated record view.


Any non-patent citations on file for the patent will be displayed in the “Other References” field, not shown in the figure above. This data may be searched for using the Boolean or Advanced search forms.

In addition to patent citation data, Delphion displays a field called “Other Abstract Info.” According to its user guide information, this field is displayed from INPADOC data files, and contains a “list of the subject/industry abstract articles that reference (the subject) patent.” The other abstract field can contain accession numbers that are used to represent Derwent Abstracts, Chemical Abstracts produced by Chemical Abstract Services (CAS), or Japanese abstracts from the Japan Patent Information Organization (JAPIO) collection. This data is also searchable.

Although citations are not displayed by forward and backward groups, there are links that allow the searcher to explore a new result set consisting of only forward or backward citations. Three hotlinks are provided above these citation tables (“All US References,” “Forward References,” “Backward References”); these will generate a browse-able hit list containing these documents.

After a user chooses to investigate citations on the document of interest via these citation-search hyperlinks, the original record can be accessed again by the hyperlinked original document number that will appear above the results list. However, once citation analysis is finished, returning to the original hit list the citation-searched document came from can be difficult: this can only be accomplished by repeatedly clicking the “back” button on the browser (a difficult process if many references were reviewed from the citation list), or by re-running the original search by re-entering the query or accessing the saved strategy.

This feature can be used to review cited documents by generating them as new hit lists. However, for in-depth citation analysis, Delphion provides a special application called Citation Link, which can be used with US cited/citing documents only (no foreign citations listed on the US patents will be included, probably because Delphion does not include any citation data for non-US collections and thus cannot graph their citation relationships in detail).


editors note iconEditor's Note:

The citation search features in Delphion are useful, in that they allow users to create new hit lists out of citation data, where the citations can be reviewed in-depth as full text documents. However, doing this destroys the current search hit list, so users must be prepared to get involved in a detour citation search before using those options. Other services that provide citation searching by creating a new hit list out of the cited documents, such as PatBase, face the same limitation, so it should not be considered a disadvantage. Unfortunately, because Delphion contains only US citation data, this feature’s usefulness is somewhat limited.


Non-Patent Citations

Non-patent citations data for the records is displayed in the “other references” field, shown below. There are two remarkable features that have been added to the non-patent citation data in Delphion: 1) the system provides links to other patent documents that have cited the same non-patent article, and 2) the system provides links to the article’s abstract in Thomson’s ISI Web of Science database, free of charge. Both of these types of links can be seen in the figure below.


Non-patent citation data is displayed with links to citing patent documents, and to the article’s abstract from ISI Web of Science.


In the figure above, selecting the link that reads “Cited by 3 patents” will load the three citing patent documents into their own hit list; this action works the same way as using the system functionality to display forward or backward patent citations for a subject patent.


A hit list that shows the 3 patent documents which have cited the non-patent literature article.


In addition, selecting a link that reads “ISI abstract”, such as the one seen in the figure above, will cause a separate browser window to appear and load the ISI Web of Science abstract. There is no charge to display these abstracts when using these internal links from Delphion. Unfortunately, not every article that is available in the Web of Science has a corresponding link from Delphion- only a percentage of the eligible records have been linked.


The “ISI abstract” link displays the full Web of Science abstract in a separate window, for no charge.


editors note iconEditor's Note:

The fact that non-patent citation data text is searchable in Delphion is notable, because this data, while it may be displayed in other databases, is not searchable in all subscription databases. This is one advantage to the Delphion system.


Other Abstract Info

In addition to citation data, Delphion displays a field called “Other Abstract Info.” According to its user guide information, this field is displayed from INPADOC data files, and contains a “list of the subject/industry abstract articles that reference the subject patent,” such as the re-written abstracts given by Derwent and CAS to patent records. The “other abstract info” field can contain accession numbers that are used to represent Derwent Abstracts, Chemical Abstracts produced by Chemical Abstract Services (CAS), or Japanese abstracts from the Japan Patent Information Organization (JAPIO) collection. This data was once useful when researchers needed to pull paper copies of these abstracts from an index; however, now that these abstracts are available online, the accession numbers are no longer really necessary. Accordingly, this data has since been discontinued and is no longer included in INPADOC updates, but the Delphion system still displays the historical data when available. The Derwent abstract numbers may be hyperlinked to the Derwent WPI record for that document; however, as with most Derwent data in Delphion, selecting the link will case the user to incur display charges.


Citation Link

Citation Link was designed to allow users to analyze US patent citations in a graphical display. It can only be applied to a single document of interest, but it serves to graphically represent the entire generation of forward and backward citations stemming from that one seed document, creating a huge body of related works for review.

Two display modes can be applied in Citation Link: the “citation tree,” and the timeline view.

The “citation tree” creates a map using the chosen patent as the single, “middle” document - forward and backward citations extend from that single patent, creating a tree-like map with citations extending forward and behind it.


Example of a citation tree.


The alternative view is the timeline, which organizes the documents by publication year (displayed above the data). Timelines can be created in single year intervals, or using 5 or 10 year increments. Naturally, the larger the time increment, the more data is “skipped over” as only documents published in the years which are multiples of 5 or 10 are displayed. Once a format is chosen, single or multiple generations (up to all, from beginning to end) can be displayed at once. Via a drop-down menu, users choose whether one, two, three, or all generations should be displayed on the map. This factor ultimately affects the practical readability of the chart, as “All generation” trees are usually huge.


Example of a timeline view.


To facilitate review/analysis, users control how the documents are represented on the map. Small bar icons represent individual documents, and an identifying data field appears within each bar: patent number, title, assignee, inventor(s), IPC class, national class, and assignee country.

Clicking on any one of these bars will load bibliographic data for that individual document on the bottom of the screen, including cited documents but minus any abstract data.

If the need arises to view a complicated map, massive trees/timelines can be viewed using the zoom tool, available via a menu pane to the right of the Citation Link window. A mini-display in the control pane shows the user how much data is excluded from view while the zoom tool is being used.

Other options available from the control pane allow users to print and save screenshot images, and even to create a work file out of the documents displayed in the final tree for further review/analysis. (Searching cannot be conducted within a work file, however. For more information about work files, see the Saving Results section of this article).


editors note iconEditor's Note:

For a time, the Citation Link feature was unique to Delphion; however, in 2007 other search services (such as QPAT and PatBase) introduced similar features. Graphical representation of citation relationships may help users understand the value of a patent from a commercial or technology development standpoint. Citation analysis may also uncover related classifications, companies or inventors with similar technologies that should be investigated. Obviously, the usefulness of the feature will vary on a case-by-case basis.

The lack of foreign data citation data is a limiting factor. This may have been an intentional omission on Delphion’s part as searching within all the foreign citation data would require additional computing strain, and the US trees already represent massive data sets. However, US citations only represent a part of the overall picture, so users should stay aware of the lack of foreign data when using the tool.

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