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Patent Statistics

  1. Introduction
  2. What are U.S. patent statistics?
  3. How are these statistics useful?
  4. Pre-existing Patent Reports
  5. Make your own report
  6. Patent applications
  7. What patent statistics do not show you
  8. Further assistance

Make your own report

You can create your own report by conducting an advanced patent search, which allows you to include many different variables in one search session.

While one PTMD report shows patent data organized by geography and another report shows data organized by technology, an advanced search session allows you to search patent data by geography, organization, technology, issue date and more, all within one search. For more information on performing advanced patent searches, check out our Patent Searching Tutorial.

  1. Go to the USPTO's homepage ( Click on the Patents link on the menu bar.
  2. Screenshot of the USPTO homepage.

  3. In the Tools sidebar, click on the USPTO Patent Full-Text and Image Database (PatFT) and Application Full-Text and Image Database (AppFT) link.
  4. Screenshot showing the link to the USPTO Patent Application Full-Text and Image Database.

  5. Here, you can click Quick Search to search using terms within 1 or 2 fields of a patent document. For our purposes, click Advanced Search.

Screenshot showing link to Advanced Patent Search.

The Advanced Search feature allows you to create a search string that incorporates all of the fields you are interested in for your report.

Let's try an example:

  1. In the query field type AS/TX and click "Search." This will query all of the patents in Texas since 1976. "AS" means that the Assignee State will be queried and will look for "TX" or Texas.
  2. Now, in the query field, type AS/TX AND AN/Dell AND ISD/1/1/2002->1/1/2012 and click "Search." This will query all of the patents issued for the Dell Corporation in Texas between the years 2002 and 2012. By adding the Boolean delimiter "AND" and choosing additional fields such as Assignee Name ("AN") and Issue Date ("ISD"), we can construct our own collection of patent data.
  3. Screenshot showing sample advanced search.

Country codes

When creating queries, the patent database requires that you use terms it understands. For some fields, you must use codes. For example, if you are creating a query that looks up patents in a particular country, you must specify the field (Assignee Country or "ACN") and use a country code. You can find the appropriate country code by looking at the Country Code Table.

  1. Click Advanced search to return to the search interface, then click the Assignee Country link or click here.
  2. Now, click the Country Code Table link or click here.

Using these codes in place of country names will make your search much more effective. One way to derive useful information from the patent database is to search by technology in two different geographic areas. Let's try this:

  1. Click Advanced search to return to the search interface.
  2. Type the following search string: CCL/705/50 AND ISD/1/1/2002->1/1/2012 AND ACN/JP OR ACN/US. This will query all patents designated under the patent class 705, "Data processing" and subclass 50, "Business Processing Using Cryptography" for both Japan and the United States between the years of 2002 and 2012. While all patents listed in the USPTO database are U.S. patents, some are issued to foreign-based assignees, such as companies based in Japan.

To further understand patent class and subclass designations, try looking at our Patent Searching Tutorial.


Patent applications

In addition to searching data related to issued patents, you can also search patent applications. The patent application database contains all of the documents or published applications currently pending issuance. While there is no guarantee that these applications will become issued patents, the benefit to searching applications is that they often contain the most up-to-date evidence of an organization's technological activity and interests.

The full text of the published applications includes all bibliographic data, such as the inventor's name, the published application's title, and the assignee's name, as well as the abstract, the full description of the invention, and the claims. All of the words (text) in the publication are searchable. The search interface is identical to the one used for issued patents.

To search in the patent application database:

  1. Back at the Patent Full-Text Database page, choose Advanced Search under Patent Applications.
  2. Screenshot showing Advanced Patent Application Search link.

  3. Proceed with a search as in the "Make your own report" example.




What patent statistics do not show you

As with any research endeavor, you should be mindful of what statistics do not show you.

  1. The variance between patents in importance and degree of invention.
  2. The propensity to patent, as opposed to relying on patent alternatives (e.g., lead time in the market place and trade secrets), may vary over time, within an industry, and between industries.

Also, some allege that patenting trends are more indicative of the health of the patent system than of the health of technology. Or it may be that the trends reveal more about the shifts in domestic technological development than about the relative balance between domestic and foreign technology.




Further Assistance

You may call 512-495-4511 or contact the Engineering Library for additional help with patent searching.