The Thomson Derwent World Patents Index is a major resource for international patent searching by subject, especially in chemical areas. But users who need information on newly published or granted patents and patent applications can find Derwent frustrating because of the time lags in getting records into the database.
I checked patents and publications from four major patenting authorities: The U.S. Patent Office, the European Patent Office, the Japanese Patent Office, and the Patent Cooperation Treaty. As of today (March 26), new basic patents in the system are dated anywhere from Feb. 5 (U.S.) to Feb. 25 (European). Patents with new polymer and/or chemical indexing are dated from Oct. 28, 2003, (Japan) to Feb. 25 (European). Clients who have become accustomed to seeing full-text U.S. and EPO patents available on day of publication want faster loading.
To meet this need, Thomson Derwent has just introduced First View, a separate database of patents that are not yet in the full Derwent World Patents Index (DWPI). First View does not include the Derwent-created enhancements, such as technical titles, abstracts, and in-depth indexing. But it does include enough information to make it a useful tool—and the patents are fairly current. Thomson Derwent's goal is to get patents into the system within 11 days of publication; in fact, some patents are getting into First View within 2 days of publication.
When patents come into Thomson Derwent, staff members search to determine if they are new basic patents or new equivalents to existing records. Then the patents go into First View, appropriately labeled as basic or equivalent. Later, when the full records go into DWPI, they are removed from First View, so there is no duplication between the databases. In general, new equivalents to existing DWPI records go right into the DWPI records and not into First View; so, the only equivalents you will find in First View are those whose basics are still too new to have gone into DWPI.
First View first went up on Dialog, part of Thomson, a few weeks ago (File 331) and more recently on STN (WPIFV). Database sheets are available from both hosts. Negotiations are still underway with Questel•Orbit about mounting First View there.
First View includes documents from all 40 of the patent issuing authorities covered in DWPI. It contains very full bibliographic information, including standardized patent assignee names and codes and front-page drawings. It also has quite a bit of searchable text, as well as several different patent classifications for subject searching. English-language machine translations are provided for Chinese, Japanese, Korean, Taiwanese, and Russian patent abstracts.
What's interesting, in fact, is how much information goes into the First View records that is not currently in DWPI records. This includes:
- Full inventor names (last name and initials only in DWPI), inventor address, and country
- Patent agents' names and addresses
- The patent assignee's country (which may be different from the inventor's country)
- Type of application (provisional, divisional, continuation, continuation-in-part, etc.)
- Number of pages
- U.S. patent classifications, both original and current, separately searchable; also range-searchable current classes
- The title, abstract, and main claim from the document (different text from the Derwent-written title and abstract)
- Different parts of the abstract separately searchable—first section, detailed description, mechanism of action, use, advantage, description of drawings
- The field of search of international patent classifications (IPCs)
- Cited patent references—country, patent number, kind code, and (where applicable) relevance indicators
- Cited journal references
Much of this additional information has patent searchers' mouths watering. But the bad news is that, when the records go from First View into DPWI, these fields will be removed from the publicly-accessible database. Thomson Derwent will still have the information, however, and it is considering whether eventually to add it to DWPI. The company may also consider whether to try to go back in time and add some or all of the information to older records. This would require a database reload. But if and when that happens, Derwent could add other information to the back DWPI file, some of which wasn't electronically available when the older records were created. And it could add extra subject search parameters, such as U.S. classifications and ECLA codes (the patent classes that the European Patent Office examiners use).
First View is a separate file, despite urgings that the current (not yet abstracted or indexed) records be merged into DWPI, just as current unindexed Chemical Abstracts records are part of CAPlus. If merged, users could search on elements present in both current and older records—title and some abstract text terms, company and inventor names, patent classifications, priority and application information, and so on—in one file, not two separate files.
However, Neil Larque, manager of customer technical support at Thomson Derwent, said in a note to the Patent Information Users Group discussion list: "Whilst we agree this would be desirable, technical constraints in our current DWPI production system have made this impossible at this time. We are making significant investments in a new editorial system which will remove these technical constraints. This will give us the option in the future of creating a merged file containing all of the DWPI enhanced content in addition to the DWPI First View records as precursors to the complete DWPI records. DWPI First View does contain useful additional content not currently present in DWPI, such as US Class and address information. So, merging the two files while still retaining all of the unique content features of both would represent a major file redesign project. To this end, we welcome ongoing customer feedback and input."
In the meantime, users can search First View multifile with DWPI on both Dialog and STN. Users can also create multifile SDIs between First View and DPWI and choose whether to see records from both files.
First View as it exists is very much in version 1, and Thomson Derwent is considering enhancements. The company would like to hear what users want in First View, and also what they would like added to and changed in DWPI at the time of the next reload. Send input by e-mail to: firstname.lastname@example.org.