Report:STN/Viewing Results/Family Search Features

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Family Searching in STN Express and STN on the Web

In STN, family data is accessible from three different sources: the Derwent World Patents Index, INPADOC and CAplus. When searching in an STN data file from one of these three sources, this family data will be searchable. In STN, the user can list all family members of a document, as seen in the screenshot below, taken from the STN on the Web interface.

Family members are listed and categorized.

For more information on the way patent families are structured, see the article on patent families.

Grouping Patent Records into Families with FSORT

When using the STN Express or STN on the Web interfaces, The "FSORT" (Family SORT) command can be used to group patent records from L-number answer sets into patent families. FSORT works in any one or more of the files included in the PATENTS or HPATENTS cluster files.[1]

After performing the FSORT, answers are sorted into families and a list of patent families with corresponding answer numbers is displayed. At this point the user may enter "D PFAM" to display only selected answers from the families. For example, "D PFAM=1- IBIB" displays the first answer (by default) from each family (1- ) in IBIB format.[1]

The Patent Family Manager on STN Express

STN Express also offers a different method of working with patent family data: the Patent Family Manager, a built-in wizard for creating customized lists of patent family data. The Patent Family Manager can be accessed from the Results tab, the "Discover!" menu, or by clicking an L-number. The resulting wizard allows the user to create a results set that displays patent family information drawn from the previous search. The user may choose to view either the first member of each patent family, or a customized view that can be further modified to suit the user's preferred display format, such as bibliographic data only, title and bibliographic data, etc. for both the first and subsequent members of each family. The Patent Family Manager can be used with L-number sets with results from one or more databases, containing up to 5,000 answers, and containing both patent documents and non-patent literature.[2] The Patent Family Manager also gives users the option to remove twin multiple basics from CA/CAplus answer sets.[3]

Selecting the top radio button limits the results to the first patent in each family.

The bottom radio button allows the user to customize the output of the Patent Family Manager tool.

Patent Family Assistant on STN on the Web

Users can access the Patent Family Assistant through the Assistants folder on STN on the Web to:[4]

  • Extract the first member from each patent family.
  • Remove or manage multiple basic patent content of CAplus answer sets with the option to retain the WO basic patent, the national basic patent with earliest priority, the patent with the earliest application date, or the patent with the earliest publication date.
  • Customize displays of patent family results.

editors note iconEditor's Note:

Patent searchers will find the Patent Family Manager and Patent Family Assistant to be significant improvements to STN's previous display features. They makes it more efficient to consider a wide range of family data by eliminating unwanted data points. Considering how important viewing a wide range of related documents can be, any tools that makes the process easier should be welcomed.

Family Data in STN Easy

Patent family information is given in six STN Easy databases: WPINDEX/WPIDS/WPIX, CAplus and INPADOC. Users can view the Family Brief or Family Plus formats for INPADOCDB records in STN Easy.[5]

Using STN Easy to lookup patent family data in the INPADOC database.


  1. 1.0 1.1 "STN® Quick Reference Card-FSORT for grouping patent records into families." CAS website, Accessed July 22, 2011.
  2. "Using Patent Family Manager." CAS website, Accessed July 22, 2011.
  3. "STN Express Version 8.5 for Windows." CAS website, Accessed October 20, 2011.
  4. "STN on the Web Enhanced with New Patent Family Assistant and Updated Structure Plug-In." CAS website,
  5. "STN Easy Price List." STN Easy website, Accessed July 22, 2011.
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