Hi Aase – When referring to the UP command on PatBase, are you referring to UP=YYNN, a search for updates for new families only? I’m not sure if this command is available on other system, I’ll need to do a bit of research to figure that out.
In regards to database popularity, the four major systems seem to be PatBase, Orbit.com, Thomson Innovation, and TotalPatent. New systems are periodically released, though, like Cobalt IP, while older systems are retired (like QPAT, which is being retired December 31, 2012 and is being completely replaced by the Orbit platform), so it is difficult to judge overall popularity due to the constant changes in availability of the systems.
In regards to Thomson Innovation coverage vs. PatBase coverage, just from looking at the comparison table, PatBase appears to have broader full text and partial text coverage, but Thomson Innovation does provide access to the DWPI file, which includes a lot of value added indexing like Derwent titles and abstracts. Thomson Innovation also provides broader access to NPL literature (Web of Science, Current Contents Connect, etc), and Thomson includes a corporate data tree, unlike PatBase.
I am not sure about the number of false hits on the QPAT “patents in force” option, but I do know that QPAT is slated to be retired in Dec. 2012. It is being completely replaced by the Orbit.com platform.