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Citing and cited patterns of USPTO patents


This page follows up from http://www.leydesdorff.net/software/patentmaps/index.htm where geographical patent mapping using USPTO data is explained. (See also http://www.leydesdorff.net/ipcmaps for mapping in terms of International Patent Classifications.) When one runs uspto2.exe in these contexts, the routines uspto1.exe and patref3.exe are called for the download. The routines generate additional files which can also be used for downloading citing and cited patents (in the USPTO domain).

The format of USPTO data has changed. I repaired uspto1.exe and uspto2.exe--for the download of sets of patents--but not the subsequenst cited and citing files!

This still has to be done.

For example, patref3.exe reads a file “list.txt” from USPTO2.exe and writes a file “list2.exe” that can be used for the citation analysis of the originally downloaded patents. (See also lesson5 from here for an older (2007) explanation of the citation analysis of USPTO patents: “list2.txt” can be used by patref2.exe.)


The analysis of citing patents


Patref2.exe accesses the USPTO databases and downloads the patents citing the patents listed in “list2.txt,” and originally downloaded by uspto2.exe and patref3.exe. This next program thus acts in much the same way as clicking the “referenced by” button in each patent document, but it does it automatically for collecting the set of citing patents. If one is interested only in the number of citations, one can find this information already in the file ti.dbf (after running patref3.exe); it is then not needed to download the citing patents in full text.


The user is advised to copy and paste “list2.txt” into folder different from the folder for the original download. (Previous downloads are overwritten.) This same folder should contain patref2.exe. The routine prompts for an exact number of URLs contained in the list when prompted. Run patref2.exe and enter how many patents to download when prompted. Patref2.exe will then start downloading the citing patents into that folder in the same way as uspto1.exe did: p1.htm, p2.htm, etc. The further procedure is discussed in lesson5 at http://www.leydesdorff.net/indicators/lesson5.htm.


The order is thus:

1. uspto2.exe; this program calls uspto1.exe for downloading if so wished. One is prompted for calling patref4.exe (which optionally calls patref3.exe). Just run it; the issue is if list2.txt is generated.

2. If list2.txt is not generated, do it step-by-step:

Run patref3.exe, patref4.exe (without calling patref3.exe); this should provide list2.txt.

3. list2.txt is needed for patref2.exe. The program generates a set of citing patents (p1.htm; p2.htm, etc.). It prompts for a number. This is the number of lines in the input file list2.txt.


The analysis of cited patents


USPTO2.exe now also writes a file “cited.txt” (since Aug. 18, 2013). This file is derived from the file “patref.dbf” which contains the patent references from the initial download after parsing, but differently from patref.dbf these are only the patent references to USPTO patents after 1975 (because older patents cannot be automatically retrieved and parsed). Both granted patents and patent applications are included. If in the same folder, the program uscited1.exe reads “cited.txt” and writes the cited patents and patent applications into this same folder. The patents are numbered r1.htm, r2.htm, … etc. for granted patents, and a1.htm, a2.htm …, etc. for patent applications.


If so wished, uscited2.exe can parse the files r1.htm, r2.htm …, etc. for cited patents; uscited3.exe parses the patent applications. The resulting .dbf files can be used for relational database management in MS Access or read into spreadsheet-based programs (such as Excel or SPSS) for statistical purposes. Using the various fields one can also relate the citing and cited documents in MSAccess or similar programs.


Loet Leydesdorff

August 18, 2013.