Homepage  |  Publications  |   Software; data  |   Courseware; indicators  |   Animation  |   Geo  |   Search website (Google)

Animations of the intellectual and geographical dynamics of US patents in terms of addresses and IPC classes


The static maps made for US patents in terms of geographical addresses (at http://www.leydesdorff.net/patentmaps) or IPC categories (at http://www.leydesdorff.net/ipcmaps) can be converted into dynamic animations using the filing years and the corresponding routines usptoyr.exe and ipcyr.exe, respectively. The two programs run on the downloaded sets first parsed at the aggregated level by uspto2.exe and ipc.exe, respectively. Both routines use the filing dates for organizing the files into years. The user gets the option to specify a time-window in terms of number of years. For example, if one specifies 3 years and the first patents are from 1984, the respective output file for 1984 will also contain 1985 and 1986; and the next one for 1985 includes patents of 1986 and 1987. This enables users to dampen the variation.


Output of usptoyr.exe

The routine assumes the files to be generated in a previous round at the aggregated level by uspto2.exe, etc., (at http://www.leydesdorff.net/software/patentmaps)  including the routine for citation numbers since the maps indicate and test on the top-25% percentiles of the patents in terms of citations by distinguishing in shades of green and red. The geo-information of the aggregated set is used for the subsets for different years.


Two sets of files are then generated: (1) equivalents of ztest.txt, but now numbered as z1984.txt, z1985.txt, etc. and (2) equivalents of patents.txt, but now numbered pat1984.txt, pat1985.txt, etc. The numbering begins with the filing date for the oldest patent available in the set. Inventor addresses or assignee addresses are used depending on which one was used at the aggregated level. Networks of co-invention or co-assignment are correspondingly added.


The files can be used as inputs at http://www.gpsvisualizer.com/map_input?form=data, precisely as described for the aggregated set at http://www.leydesdorff.net/software/patentmaps. An example can be found at http://www.leydesdorff.net/photovoltaic/cuinse2/index.htm for the set of 419 patents downloaded from the USPTO interface (at http://patft.uspto.gov/netahtml/PTO/search-adv.htm) on August 20, 2013 using the search string “CPC/Y02E10/541”. Y02E10/541 indicates among the “technologies of applications for mitigation and adaptation against climate change (Y02),” the subclass of patents classified as “CuInSe2 material PV cells” in the new Cooperative Patent Classification scheme between USPTO and EPO.


The html files for the different years need some editing:

·       in the header one may wish to change the title;

·       a Google API-key has to be inserted at line 13;

·       one may wish to harmonize options in lines 51-53 across the files such as centering, initial zooming levels, and types of maps;

·       (I also changed the legend into an infobox at lines 32-36).

The html formats (e.g., frame) can be copied from my webpage.


There is an add-in for PowerPoint at http://skp.mvps.org/liveweb.htm (freeware) that allows to embed Google Maps interactively into presentations.


Output of ipcyr.exe

The routine assumes that ipc.exe is first run for the entire set. The citation information or geo-information is not needed for this analysis. Note that the file ti.dbf will not contain citation numbers (“times cited” or TC) when using this uspto1.exe in this context. However, ipc.dbf with the mapping information has to be present in the same folder.


As in the above case of usptoyr.exe the user is prompted for a window in terms of numbers of years upon the consecutive years of application. The default choice of 1 leads to separate files for each year, but with low numbers one may wish to extend this moving aggregate.


The routine generates two sets of files that can be input into VOSViewer (as in the case of IPC.exe) for drawing the maps: (1) VOS3year.txt and  (2) VOS4year.txt – where “year” is replaced with “1984,” “1985”, etc., for each year present in the overall set (as a filing date). An example for the same set of 419 patents as above is provided at http://www.leydesdorff.net/photovoltaic/cuinse2/cuinse2.ppsx.


The routine also writes a file rao.dbf containing the Rao-Stirling diversity for each year: Diversity Δ = Σi≠j pi pj Dij (Rao, 1992; Stirling, 2007). The distance is calculated as (1 – cosine) in the vector space if the files cos_ipc3.dbf and cos_ipc4.dbf are available in the same folder. (All routines assume that all files and programs operate in the same folder!) For the above set of 419 patents (CuInSe2; Y02E10/541), the result is then as follows:



Rao-Stirling diversity is larger for IPC4 (four characters) than IPC3 (three characters) because of the wider spread of the former in the vector space.


Loet Leydesdorff

September 5, 2013.