Patent statistics searching: practices and pitfalls

  • Nancy Lambert
Conference paper


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. [4] 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. [5]


Patent Citation Patent Statistic Patent Activity International Patent Patent Family 
These keywords were added by machine and not by the authors. This process is experimental and the keywords may be updated as the learning algorithm improves.


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  1. 1]
    Campbell, R. S. ‘Patent trends as a technological forecasting tool.’ World Patent Information 5 (3), 137–143, 1983.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  2. 2]
    Carpenter, M. P.; Narin, F. ‘Validation study: Patent citations as indicators of science and foreign dependence.’ World Patent Information 5 (3), 180–185, 1983.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  3. 3]
    Ashton, W. B.; Campbell, R. S.; Levine, L. O. ‘Patent analysis as a technology forecasting tool.’ Economics and Policy Analysis Occasional Paper Number 60, Gattelle, August 1983.Google Scholar
  4. 4]
    Kaback, S. M. ‘Online Patent Information: Recitation.’ World Patent Information 10 (1), 46–47, 1988.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  5. 5]
    Simmons, E. S. ‘Online Patent Information: Doubleheader.’ World Patent Information 10 (3), 204–206, 1988.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  6. 6.
    Oxford Dictionary of Quotations, 3rd ed., Oxford University Press, 1979, p. 187.Google Scholar
  7. 7.
    Van der Drift, J. ‘Statistics of European patents on legal status and granting data.’ World Patent Information 10 (4), 243–249, 1988.CrossRefGoogle Scholar

Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag Berlin Heidelberg 1989

Authors and Affiliations

  • Nancy Lambert
    • 1
  1. 1.Chevron Research CompanyRichmondUSA

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