Exploring Patents using a ‘Bigger’ Data approach

Researchers aim to establish new knowledge in data mining about patents.

Per Jarl Elle

Nord University Business School has received a 60,000 Euro research grant from the European Patent Office (EPO). 

As we enter a new web-of-data era, the researchers are working to help Small and Medium sized Enterprises (SME’s) to obtain faster and smarter information on patents, to help SMEs strategically position their innovations.

The EPO research project is named «IP linked open data: building bridges (IP LodB)».

Klikk her for å endre bildet Small project, big challenge.  Dolores Modic and her project colleague, Alan Richard Johnson (left) with professor Einar Rasmussen, Nord University Business School, are keen on the possibilities of linking web semantics to information about patents (photo: Per Jarl Elle).   
For the next year and a half, the EPO grant will partly fund two researchers, Dr. Dolores Modic and Dr. Alan Johnson, in innovation and entrepreneurship at Nord University Business School, in Norway, and four researchers from Slovenia, including three data scientists. 

Data
mining in a new format 

– We are drawing on synergies with other projects as well, and are delighted to have attracted a multidisciplinary team, coming both from other schools as well as from private companies, says Dr. Dolores Modic.

Dolores Modic and Alan Johnson aim to establish new academic knowledge in data mining about patents available in a new format – the linked open data (LOD).
 
– Specifically, says Modic, as a first step and proof of concept, we develop tools to connect data on patents (EPO LOD database) and data on publications (Sci Graph Springer Nature LOD database). And then, we design a user interface to make those data available to SMEs. 

Dr. Modic explains that the objective is to offer more strategic value to SMEs from new patent data mining, to make them more competitive with large IPR savvy corporations.

The research-team uses a brand new linked open database (LOD) recently made available by the European patent office. 

In this database every entry has its own unique identifier (URI), thus the project tries to contribute to the vision of the LOD as a web-scale database. 

Connect data to increase IPR business intelligence 

Dr. Alan Johnson explains that by combining patent data with scientometrics data, and data from other LOD sources we can build bridges to increase IPR-related business intelligence for smaller entities that do not own large resources. 

– Even when there are ambiguities or gaps in the published LOD we can use techniques based on social network analysis to inform the likely connections between one source and another, says Johnson. 

But, even if the SMEs obtain relevant patent information, do SMEs know how to use it? 

– Indeed, getting the information and knowing how to exploit it, are two different issues. However, what we provide here is insight on how this data can be connected to other data, to increase IPR connected business intelligence. That is a definite step in the right direction, says Dr. Dolores Modic. 

Can all types of enterprises use the alternative?

– There a quite a few alternatives ranging from better to worse and from more expensive to less expensive. Also, many of them limit themselves (some very well) to only patent data and do not try to add links to other data, others try to link to additional data. 

– But most of all, for now the EP LOD database is one of only two patent related databases in the linked open data (LOD) format, yet the web of data (instead of web of documents we have now) seems to be the future… we want to thus not only test how usable this format is, and how much effort one needs, but want to build a building block to allow the smaller companies to also harness new opportunities in this area, Johnson says. 
Per Jarl Elle


The European Patent Office  one body of the European Patent Organisation. 
The other, and supervisory, body  is the Administrative Council.  
Their activities are based on the European Patent Convention, which is revised by the contracting European States.