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USPTO/PatentsView workshop

Want to make patent data more useable? Join us, Oct. 28, for USPTO’s PatentsView product workshop

In the 1930s, the renowned sociologist Robert K. Merton theorized that science advances not only from individual work, but also from interaction with the scientific community. (Merton also, legend has it, coined the terms “unintended consequences,” “role model,” and “self-fulfilling prophesy.”)

You can see Merton’s thesis at work at Commerce as we pursue our mission to democratize data, advancing President Obama’s Open Data challenge and the Data Pillar of Secretary Penny Pritzker’s “Open for Business” strategy.

Rather than going our own way alone, we’re doing things the Merton way, reaching out to the community to help us achieve more than we could alone. The ongoing development of USPTO’s PatentsView product, under the leadership of my friend and colleague Michelle K. Lee, driven by her Senior Advisor Tom Beach and his team, is a great example of this.

On Oct. 28, USPTO is hosting a PatentsView Workshop on Engaging User Communities, inviting digital experts, software developers, data scientists and users and others to provide feedback on the product to continue improving it. 

PatentsView, as Deputy Director Russell Silfer said upon launch of the prototype last year, “allows users to easily explore nearly 40 years of critical USPTO patent data.”  As he described it:  

USPTO’s PatentsView search tool

With just a few clicks, the user can see – through charts and maps – links and connections across technologies, geography, and time. It’s built on an unprecedented database that links inventors, their organizations, locations, and overall patenting activity. 

The platform enables users to learn about the patent history and impact of particular innovators, explore the networks and teams of inventors, and analyze the volume and distribution of technologies by geographic region.

Demonstrating the workshop’s theme, “New Tools for Open Patent Data,” USPTO will officially launch a new PatentsView data query builder, which will allow users to easily search for and download subsets of PatentsView data. The PatentsView database incorporates a new inventor disambiguation algorithm developed at the product kickoff workshop last year by a team from UMass Amherst.

PatentsView is just one component of the much broader USPTO-wide open data initiative and the new Developer Hub that’s improving the discoverability, accessibility, and usability of the agency’s 225 years of patent and trademark information. Making patent and trademark data more discoverable, accessible and useable is especially critical today amid the floodtide of new inventions, ideas and innovations, and data about them.  In turn, intellectual property-driven sectors are playing a starring role in creating jobs, boosting wages and driving our economy today. 

A Sept. 20 report by USPTO and ESA finds:

  • JOBS: IP-intensive industries directly and indirectly supported 45.5 million jobs, nearly one-third of all U.S. employment.
  • GDP: The share of total U.S. GDP attributable to IP-intensive industries increased from 34.8 percent to 38.2 percent from 2010 to 2014.
  • WAGES: In 2014, workers in IP-intensive industries earned an average weekly wage 46 percent higher than the weekly wages in non-IP-intensive industries in the private sector.

“Science makes skepticism a virtue,” Merton said.  As we continue our mission to democratize data and advance data quality, we appreciate and depend on the views of our data user community – the more constructively skeptical and helpful, the better.

Register for the PatentsView workshop.  It’s at the USPTO campus in Alexandria, Va.  We hope you can join us.

Thanks for reading.


Justin Antonipillai - Counselor to Secretary Penny Pritzker, with the Delegated Duties of the Under Secretary for Economic Affairs


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