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What can Derwent provide for us?
Derwent is a patent database covering US and international patents and patent applications back to the 1960s (depending on jurisdiction).
So what are patents?
Patents are wonderful sources of technical information. They are often challenging to read and difficult to search because they are both technical documents and legal documents.
Derwent rewrites patent titles and adds new patent abstracts in clear and consistent language. Although it's important to note that Derwent is not ideal for patentability searching or classification searching, it's best used for exploratory and literature searching.
To begin, we'll start here, at the Purdue University Libraries' homepage.
Underneath the search bar are options to browse catalogs, databases, or online journals.
Click on "Databases”
As you can see, as a member of the Purdue University community you have access to hundreds of databases!
From here click on "D" in the alphabetical list at the top to narrow our list of databases.
Scroll down then click "Derwent Innovations Index"
Important Note: If you are off-campus you will be directed to log in with your Purdue credentials.
Before we begin searching, it is important to note that truncation (*) can be used to get plurals and alternate forms of words.
For example, we would search "bicycl*" for bicycles, bicycling, bicyclist, bicyclic, etc.
This is also important to consider when searching international patents. Countries like Great Britain or Canada have spellings of English words that vary from the US.
To the right of the search box is a drop-down menu to limit your search to a specific facet like topic, inventor, patent number, assignee, etc. The database default is topic.
Below the search box you also have the option to add more fields to narrow a search.
Using topic as our facet, let's start a search for bicycle handlebars.
In the search box, type bicycle handlebars and click Search.
We mentioned before that Derwent also has patent applications. These applications may or may not have become full patents, but they still have valuable information.
It's important to remember that Derwent includes international patents and patent applications therefore some original patent documents will be in other languages.
To know what country a patent was applied in, take a look at the first two letters in the record number. This is the country code.
Here are a few examples of country codes and what country they represent.
For a full list of country codes, please visit http://patft.uspto.gov/netahtml/PTO/help/helpctry.htm
On the left you have several options to refine your results from subject area to inventors.
In the Subject Areas section, click the box beside "Transportation" then click Refine.
The drop-down menu at the top will give a few more options to sort your results including publication date, inventor, patent assignee, etc. A patent assignee also known as the patent owner could be different than the inventor.
It is important to note that Derwent does not display results by relevance. Titles are altered from the official patent title to be more readable.
Click on the drop-down menu titled "Sort by:", then click Publication Date.
Now that we've refined our search results, let's take a closer look at a patent record.
Click on the patent titled "Bicycle rack has frame-receiving cradle that is positioned in between first pedal-receiving clamp and pedal arm, and second pedal-receiving clamp is positioned along pedal arm opposite main portion."
Within an item record you can identify the inventor as well as the patent assignee. As we mentioned earlier, sometimes the patent assignee may differ from the inventor. Often times a company or organization is identified as the assingee, therefore has ownership of the patent.
With this particular record, the individual inventor has ownership of this patent.
Each record has an abstract enhanced by Derwent to be more helpful. It includes the purpose or use of the invention, and a description of the advantage for the invention.
If you scroll down, some item records will have a drawing of the invention from the original patent document.
Below the drawing, are various International Patent Classification codes. Because patent language varies so much, patent organizations break the world of technology down into manageable pieces using a classification system (think: call numbers, zip codes, etc). You can use these classifications to search, so that you find all of the patents in an area, regardless of how they’re described. International Patent Classification (IPC) is the most general classifying system.
If you click on the Derwent Class Code, you can search for other patents within that class code.
If the patent has been filed in multiple countries, corresponding documents will be listed at the bottom of the item record.
If you scroll back to the top, you can view the original patent document.
Click on the button beside the first patent number, labeled "Original."
The original patent should have opened as a PDF, from here you can print or save the original document.
Important Note: The document format will vary depending on the country. It may not be English. If this is the case, look for a WO or US or GB or CA version.
Notice that the title differs from the Derwent title. This is the "real"/"official" version.
The inventor and assignee are the same as indicated in the Derwent record. The classifications are the same as well, but are located at the top of the document instead of at the bottom.
Also notice that the original abstract differs from the Derwent abstract. We mentioned before that Derwent's records are intended to more helpful with more consistent language.
If you scroll down the document, you'll discover several drawings of the invention whereas the Derwent record only had one. Drawings can be very helpful in terms of technical detail. Every element must be described in the text.
If you scroll through the drawings, you will come to the description section of patent. The description explains the invention in great detail; how it's made, what it's made from, how it's used, etc.
If you scroll to the very end, following "it is claimed that" or "what is claimed is", or similar language, is a numbered list that precisely delineates the legal limits of the patent. Everything listed is protected, everything not listed is not protected.
Now you know how to perform a patent search within the Derwent Innovations Index, as well identifying key aspects to a patent record.
Thank you for using this tutorial.