Tips for Searching the IFI Snapshots

Searching IFI Patent Status

As you can see from the list of values for IFI Patent Status, many of the possible status values contain similar wording, so it is important to be precise when searching ifi_patstat.

Searching for the terms "active" or "expired" will return inclusive results. For example, searching for "active" will return all records containing the statuses "Active" or "Active - Reinstated", while searching for "expired" will return all records containing a status of "Expired", "Expired - Lifetime", or "Expired- Fee Related".

However, if you want to limit your search to records with the status "Expired - Lifetime" only, then you must enclose it in quotes:

ifi_patstat:"expired – lifetime"

Conversely, if you want to exclude fee-related expirations, you would use the NOT operator in a nested query:

ifi_patstat:(expired NOT "fee related")

In the above example, it is important to nest the query in parentheses. If you omitted the parentheses, the system would search the ifi_patstat field for "expired", but the rest of the query would be applied to the system's default search fields (title, abstract, description, and claims).

The Withdrawn status presents a similar issue. In this case, the simple "Withdrawn" status is used for applications, while the "Withdrawn - after issue" status is used for granted patents and utility models. If you were searching for records with a status of Withdrawn or Ceased or Revoked, you might want to be aware that including the term "withdrawn" would return applications. Therefore, a more precise query would be:

ifi_patstat:("withdrawn - after issue" OR ceased OR revoked)

For granted EP records, only the summary status, presented as country “EP”, is searchable, and its possible values are Active, Not-in-Force, Expired – Fee Related, Revoked, Expired – Lifetime, Withdrawn – After Issue, and Ceased. Note that if a single designated state has a status of "In-force", the EP-level status will be "Active".

The "Not-in-force" status, however, is used at the EP-level, so that is searchable. However, searching for "Not-in-force" alone would miss records like EP-0773955-B1 in which the status is "Revoked" at the EP level, but "Not-in-force" at the designated states level:

<ifi-patent-status anticipated-expiration="20150606">
  <ifi-patent-status-description country="EP">Revoked</ifi-patent-status-description>
  <ifi-patent-status-description country="AT">Not-in-force</ifi-patent-status-description>
  <ifi-patent-status-description country="BE">Not-in-force</ifi-patent-status-description>
  <ifi-patent-status-description country="CH">Not-in-force</ifi-patent-status-description>
  <ifi-patent-status-description country="DE">Not-in-force</ifi-patent-status-description>
  <ifi-patent-status-description country="DK">Not-in-force</ifi-patent-status-description>
  <ifi-patent-status-description country="ES">Not-in-force</ifi-patent-status-description>
  <ifi-patent-status-description country="FR">Not-in-force</ifi-patent-status-description>
  <ifi-patent-status-description country="GB">Not-in-force</ifi-patent-status-description>
  <ifi-patent-status-description country="GR">Not-in-force</ifi-patent-status-description>
  <ifi-patent-status-description country="IE">Not-in-force</ifi-patent-status-description>
  <ifi-patent-status-description country="IT">Not-in-force</ifi-patent-status-description>
  <ifi-patent-status-description country="LI">Not-in-force</ifi-patent-status-description>
  <ifi-patent-status-description country="LU">Not-in-force</ifi-patent-status-description>
  <ifi-patent-status-description country="NL">Not-in-force</ifi-patent-status-description>
  <ifi-patent-status-description country="PT">Not-in-force</ifi-patent-status-description>
  <ifi-patent-status-description country="SE">Not-in-force</ifi-patent-status-description>

This EP status results either from an action at the EPO, such as revocation, that affects the patent in all designated states or from a summary of status in the designated states. At the designated states level, the status is generalized to simply "In-force" or "Not-in-force", and this country-level status is not searchable.

Therefore, a more comprehensive query for inactive records (including applications and grants) would contain all of the inactive status options:

ifi_patstat:(not-in-force OR expired OR withdrawn OR ceased OR revoked OR abandoned)

Searching the Anticipated and Adjusted Expiration Date Fields

The anticipated and adjusted expiration date fields can be useful in searching. However, one must be careful.

For example, if you want to see how many US grants expire in 2020, it is important to note that the ifi_expdyear_adj field is only present in a record if there has been a term adjustment or extension. When there is no adjustment or extension, there is no adjusted expiration date. Therefore, you must use the anticipated expiration date.

So if you enter the following search using the anticipated expiration year:

pnctry:US AND pnkind:(A OR B1 OR B2) AND ifi_expdyear:2020

this results in 208,915 records. This is NOT the correct result as it excludes grants with term adjustments and extensions that when adjusted, expire in 2020.

If you perform the same search and replace the anticipated expiration year with the adjusted expiration year:

pnctry:US AND pnkind:(A OR B1 OR B2) AND ifi_expdyear_adj:2020

this results in 32,889 records. This is obviously NOT correct and reflects only those records with populated ifi_expdyear_adj fields (about 15% of the records).

To get the correct number, you must combine the anticipated and adjusted expiration date fields using the "OR" operator in a nested search:

pnctry:US AND pnkind:(A OR B1 OR B2) AND ((ifi_expdyear_adj:2020) OR (ifi_expdyear:2020 NOT flags:has_ifi_expdyear_adj))

This results in 167,209 records. It is the sum of:

pnctry:US AND pnkind:(A OR B1 OR B2) AND (ifi_expdyear:2020 NOT flags:has_ifi_expdyear_adj)

which results in 134,320 records, and

pnctry:US AND pnkind:(A OR B1 OR B2) AND (ifi_expdyear_adj:2020)

which results in 32,889 records.

Searching IFI Parties

If you know the standardized name of the party you're searching for, then using the facet fields f_ifi_name_original and f_ifi_name_current may return more accurate results than ifi_paifi_name_original and ifi_name_current. That is because the facet fields are not tokenized (i.e. broken down into components during the search process). Rather, they will only return records which are an exact match. For example:

ifi_name_original:"Gist Inc" could return “My Gist Inc”

f_ifi_name_original:"Gist Inc" will only return “Gist Inc”

Therefore, if you use ifi_paifi_name_original, or ifi_name_current, then you risk unexpected matches that you may not want to include.

Because they require exact matches, these fields are case-sensitive. For example, you must search for "Sony Corp", not "sony corp". Note that this applies to all facet or "string" field types.