R&D Abstracts Help Inventors Track Innovation
Tracking new patents is crucial for many companies, especially in high-tech industries, where profits and reputations hinge on exploiting new markets and tapping new revenue streams. Companies also must monitor patents to identify infringements among their own ideas and those of their competitors. And if competitors are infringing on a company’s patents, legal action must be initiated quickly to protect creative rights and market share.
In the mid-1990s, one publishing company recognized that providing more detailed information on patents would fill an important niche for its customers. A first step was to create a searchable database that would allow customers to sift through the abstracts and then call up full documentation on those of special interest. Moreover, they also would deliver the information to customers directly via the Internet, PDF files, faxes or even printed newsletters.
Catering to all these special orders for information would be a labor-intensive project. Worldwide, nearly 10,000 patents – each supported with volumes of text and illustrations – are issued each year in fields such as engineering, chemical development and molecular genetics. Scanning the patents, written in dozens of languages, and then developing abstracts, indexing the information and delivering it to customers in the language and form that they requested was too large a task to be accomplished cost effectively in-house...
The publisher outsourced the development of the abstracts, indexes and all supporting documentation. With more than 1,500 highly specialized domain experts, multilingual translation capabilities and more A&I experience than any competing third-party provider, Innodata Isogen was the logical choice.
After setting up domain-specialized teams in areas such as chemistry, physics, molecular genetics and pharmacology, Innodata Isogen allocated staffing according to the average number of patents in each field, and the complexity of the documentation. For example, a staff of 22 abstractors, plus two project managers, was assigned to write engineering abstracts which yields some 5,200 patents a year. Nineteen abstractors were tapped to handle chemical patents where more than 2,000 patents are issued annually. In molecular genetics, which generates about 780 patents a year, some seven subject matter experts were assigned to write abstracts for those documents, which typically contain dense medical texts and illustrations. On the other hand, just five abstractors were assigned to handle roughly 1,800 drug patents per year.
As soon as patents are issued anywhere in the world, all supporting documents are sent to the Innodata Isogen teams, which check the abstracts against the supporting material, and write new abstracts for material that lack or have weak abstracts. All text and images are digitized, and then linked and indexed, so the information can be sorted according to the custom needs for each of the company’s thousands of clients. The four-day turnaround between patent issuance and delivery of the data to subscribers enables clients to act quickly on potential patent infringements, as well as stay current with innovative developments in their fields.
The patent service has helped the company build a solid reputation for quickly and accurately supplying news on the cutting edge of invention. In fact, major patent offices around the world now subscribe to its service. And by outsourcing the work to Innodata Isogen, the publisher is able to hold down its costs, while allowing its staff to spend more time seeking new clients and adding value for existing ones.
And for the publisher’s clients, the service similarly enables them to better utilize their resources by keeping their inventors and scientists focused on R&D, instead of policing patent offices worldwide for potential infringements. Inventors are free to concentrate on developing the new products and technologies that will deliver higher profits and market share for their organizations.