The Patent Database contains the merged datasets from the USPTO bulk data and Harvard Dataverse using SQL. Specifics on how the datasets were merged are given in Patent Data Processing - SQL Steps. The Patent Database focuses on patents, patent litigation, patent maintenance, patent assignment, and other details on patent owners.
Assignment of a patent is defined by the USPTO as giving or selling part or all of a party's ownership or interest in a patent or patent application. The assignor, original or current patent owner, transfers these rights to the assignee. Therefore, the assignee info table is used to keep track of current patent ownership and all claims to a patent. Our academic projects are restricted to the study of US patents. The assignee info table will ideally allow us to distinguish which patents are US based. Once the dataset also contains information on patent litigation, the assignee table may allow us to correlate transfer of ownership to settlement and case resolutions.
The US patent system allows for inventors, patent attorneys, and USPTO patent examiners to reference other patents that are considered prior art or related inventions. These references are theoretically in place to limit or help define the scope of a patent's claims. Often times, the patent improves upon these referenced patents or may be a new application of previously patented subject matter. Citations may also be unrelated to the patent's subject matter, and therefore, cannot be fully relied upon in studies of innovation and transfer of ideas between inventors. (See 'Why do Inventors Reference Papers and Patents in their Patent Applications?', IEEE (2010).) For the Little Guy Academic Paper the citation data may be used as a measure of litigation risk for a patent, as suggested previously by a paper by Lanjouw Schankerman studying patent litigation of small firms. A patent may be more likely to be litigated if it cites many patents or a patent may be at higher risk if it does not cite related subject matter as other inventors may consider this infringement. Our hope is to further investigate the importance and effects of patent citations and define their role in patent litigation and dissemination of knowledge between inventors and IP centered firms. Additionally, the McNair center plans on defining whether or not citations characterize patent quality, whether a patent is useful and novel.
The USPTO requires maintenance fees to be paid by the patent assignee. For each patent a firm owns, it must assert large, micro, or small entity status. According to the America Invents Act, both small and micro firms receive fee discounts on a majority of maintenance fees. The fee amount each firm pays is specified online by the USPTO on its comprehensive maintenance fee schedule. By recording the status asserted for each issued patent, the McNair center is able to identify which firms identify as small and micro firms, establishing the research potential for the Little Guy Academic Paper. Once identified, these small and micro firms may be used to track the effects of patent litigation on patent ownership and a small or micro firm's livelihood. The fee table was used to create the fee status table, facilitating the identification and tracking process.
For the Little Guy Academic Paper, the fee status a firm asserts for a patent identifies the firms that may be used to study the disadvantages small firms face in patent litigation. Using the Fee Table which records whether a firm asserted late, micro, or small entity status, the Fee Status Table was created to track a firm's status. If a firm identifies as a small or micro firm at any given point for at least one of its patents, it will be treated as such in the Little Guy Academic Paper. The fee status table will also help confirm whether a patent is no longer in effect.
The HistPatent Table will primarily be used to match publication numbers with the Citation Table. The priority date may be used to determine first inventor to file according to the new standard set by the America Invents Act. Additionally, the patent term adjustment data may provide valuable insight on the effects of litigation on a patent. The USPC codes may be helpful if patents in a particular subject matter or technical field are of interest.
In conjunction with the litigation data, the LexJudge Table may be used to monitor district court activity for the Little Guy Academic Paper and the Patent Troll Academic Paper. If matched with particular cases, trends in a particular judge's case outcomes may be developed and analyzed for use in the Patent Troll Academic Paper or Issue Brief.
The Matchorgname Table is used to match firm names to a standardized name in the database. Since firms are referred to by many variations of their names or may have a large number of subsidiaries, especially large corporations such as Samsung, the Matchorgname Table will allow us to standardize all our records on a firm and ensure that we do not miss any available data related to the organization.
The Patent Table may be used to study litigation risk based on the number of claims a patent has as well as monitoring changes to the original number due to case resolutions. For entries with priority country, the table may help in distinguishing foreign patents from domestic patents. The Patent Table also helps to keep an inventory on granted patents.
The Stdorgname Table is used to standardize firm names in the database in the Matchorgname Table.