Patent statistics searching: practices and pitfalls
A great deal has been published on statistical analysis of patent citations. Francis Narin and Richard S. Campbell did pioneering work in the field. [1,2,3] The Battelle Institute has long promoted the use of patent citation statistics to identify key patents in an area and forecast technology trends. However, some controversy exists over the validity of patent citation statistics. Stuart Kaback, a leading authority on patent information, has written on insights that can be gleaned from patent citations, if one uses the data with care and evaluates the individual patents being cited.  Edlyn Simmons, in a guest column in World Patent Information, discusses the fundamental differences between patent and literature citations, why patent examiners cite patents versus why authors cite literature. She speaks very eloquently on the fact that patent citation analyses are shaky at best, particularly those which assume that the most heavily cited patents are by definition the most important patents. 
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