Report:QPAT/Search Interface/The Command Line Interface
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|As of January 1, 2013, both QPAT and PatentExaminer have been discontinued, and they have been replaced by the Orbit.com portal.|
The Command Line Interface
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.
In the scheme of Questel-Orbit’s product offerings, QPAT is the option directed to the “end-user,” as opposed to the “expert” user. Questel-Orbit sees the “expert” user as one who prefers the online command-based search interface QWeb to access the database files.
This assumption has a lot to do with Questel-Orbit’s history as a search provider. Before the merge with Questel, ORBIT was a US-based provider of searchable patent information as early as the 1970s. As technology evolved, ORBIT became available online, through a dial-up connection. This early interface was only available as a command-line environment, and only accessible to those who were trained to use it. Expertise in this language was a must, as connection charges were assessed based on the time spent online, and the number of results displayed.
Today, online databases can be accessed through graphical user interfaces like web search forms, which are user-friendly and easier to understand. However, web search forms generally are not flexible enough to take advantage of the different ways that patent data is tagged and indexed in the database, and QPAT’s search form is no exception. Thus, QPAT offers a command line search box in addition to the search form for advanced users.
There are two major advantages of learning to use QPAT’s command line interface: it makes query construction more efficient, and it enables the use of field qualifiers which are not offered via the search form. Below is the list of standard field qualifiers that can be used in the USPAT file (US granted patents full text).
|AB||Basic Abstract||PAC||Patent Assignee Country|
|AN||Accession Number||PAN||Patent Assignee Name|
|AP||Application Data||PAP||PCT Application|
|APD||Application Date||PAPD||PCT Application Date|
|BSUM||Brief Summary||PAS||Patent Assignee State|
|CASE||Parent Case||PAW||Patent Assignee Name only|
|CLM||Additional Claims||PCLO||Original Patent Class|
|CT||Cited Patents||PCLU||Unexamined Patent Class|
|CTCL||Cited US Classes||PCLX||Related Patent Class|
|CTIC||Cited Intl Classes||PCT||PCT Information|
|DCD||Disclaimer Date||PD||Patent Issue Date|
|DESC||Detailed description||PN||Patent Number|
|DESX||Examples||PPD1||PCT National Stage 371|
|DRWG||Drawings||PPD2||PCT National Stage 102|
|DT||Document type||PPD3||PCT National Stage 103|
|EX||Examiner Information||PPN||PCT Publication|
|FD||Filing Details||PPND||PCT Patent Date|
|FLD||Field of Search||PR||Priority Number|
|FS||File Segment||PRD||Priority Date|
|GI||Government Interest||PREF||Patent References|
|IC||International Patent Classification Codes||REF||Other Patent References|
|IC1||Main IPC Codes||REP||Representative Names|
|IC2||Secondary IPC Codes||REPN||Representative Name|
|IN||Inventor and Address Information||TI||Title|
|INC||Inventor Country||UP||Update Codes|
|INN||Inventor Name||XAP6||Standardized Application Number|
|INS||Inventor State||XAP7||Standardized Application Number|
|MCLM||Main Claim||XCT||Standardized Citation Number|
|NO||Notes||XPN||Standardized Patent Number|
|NUM||Number of drawings, figures, claims, art units||XPR||Standardized Priority Number|
|PA||Patent Assignee and Address Information|
Comparing the above list to the searchable fields in QPAT’s patent search form, it is evident that the command line opens up a variety of additional indexing fields that can be used to search.
When discussing the usefulness of the command line search, the QPAT manual points out that this interface allows searching by patent Representative Names (REP) or by the assignee’s country of residence (PAC). Both of these are searches that could not be performed using the search form, but that the database is indexed to support.
Additionally, it is evident from the list above that text segments in the file have been indexed using the smaller traditional patent segments within the larger categories of “description” or “claims”: searches can be limited to the brief summary of the invention, drawing description section, examples, or just to the patent’s main claim (generally the patent’s first claim).
Finally, two fields from the list above that are unique to US searching are the Government Interest (GI) and Examiner (EX). Using the GI field, users can search by government entity to find patents that benefited from federal funding; using the EX field, users may search for documents issued under a particular US examiner.
As mentioned in the Search Form section above, advanced searchers may be hindered by the fact that the search form makes no distinction between Core and Advanced, Invention and Non-Invention IPC classifications under the new conventions established by the IPC Reform. Field qualifiers for this kind of IPC indexing are available for search via the command line, and the field qualifiers are as follows: 
|/IC||IPC All IPC v8 and historical|
|IPC Advanced All
IPC Advanced Inventive
|IPC Core All
IPC Core Inventive
|IPC codes can be searched at different levels :
full code (ANNA-NNN/NNNN)
|ICM: Main IPC (from 1995 onwards)
ICA: Additional IPC
These examples illustrate the additional range that using the command line can provide to QPAT users. General field qualifiers for standard bibliographic fields (e.g. title, abstract, etc) apply to most files in the system, and a discussion of these standard fields by file is omitted due to length. A complete list of qualifiers, tailored to the content of each data file, can be accessed in the database “Fact Sheets” available from the Questel web site.
When learning to use the command line, QPAT users are on their own to decipher allowed operators. One feature of the interface that can make this process easier is the ability to translate queries from the search form into QPAT’s command language. Typing search parameters into the form, and then checking the “use command line” box, will automatically load the query as a command query; users are then free to edit the command text, and add field qualifiers not available from the search form.
- ↑ QPAT user guide. Questel website, http://www.questel.com/en/customersupport/userdoc/docpdf/Qpat_manual.pdf. Accessed on August 20, 2007.