This tutorial will cover

  • how to access the Derwent Innovations Index.
  • how to perform a search within this database.
  • how to identify key aspects of a Derwent record.

Let's get started!

To move forward or back, simply click the arrows at the bottom of this column.

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”

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.

Click on D in the alphabetical list

Scroll down then click "Derwent Innovations Index"

Click on Derwent

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.

Search box drop down

Below the search box you also have the option to add more fields to narrow a search.

Additional Search Field

Using topic as our facet, let's start a search for bicycle handlebars.

In the search box, type bicycle handlebars and click Search.

 Type bicycle handlebars

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.

 Different Countries

Here are a few examples of country codes and what country they represent.

  • US - USA
  • WO - World Intellectual Property Organization
  • CN - China
  • IN - India
  • KR - Korea
  • DE - Germany
  • FR - France
  • GB - Great Britain
  • CA - Canada

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.

Refining Results

In the Subject Areas section, click the box beside "Transportation" then click Refine.

Refining Results

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.

sort by 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."

click on result

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.

assignee and inventor

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.

Item record abstract

If you scroll down, some item records will have a drawing of the invention from the original patent document.

patent drawing

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.

derwent codes

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."

original button for original patent

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.

real patent title

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.

patent abstract

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.

patent drawings

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.

patent description

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.

what is claimed

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.