There are very strict rules for the issuing of patents, especially with respect to the topic of a patent. The ideas covered in a patent must be of technical applicability, so patents generally describe new technical products and sometimes procedures. However, patents are not granted for the mere description of research topics.
Descriptions of research topics consequently can be found in the domain of non-patent literature (both printed and digitally stored), e.g. scientific journals, research reports, e-libraries, web site collections.
Use of non-patent literature in patent documents
It is of course recognized that patents oftentimes are based on earlier research. These sources from the non-patent literature have then to be indicated in the published patent document. This is done in a dedicated section of the patent document, the citation section.
In good patent databases, as in the system presented here, it is possible to search for these backward (= back in time) citations, as you can see here. Recently, some of these backward citations even hold a separate document number (XP...) by which they can be retrieved from the Internet.
Non-patent literature sources
In addition to the references found in the patent literature, our system offers access to following non-patent literature sources in the domain of bio-science and chemistry:
- currently 22 million records available
- the principal online bibliographic citation database
- a collection of 25 million references and abstracts
- superset of MEDLINE (MEDLINE plus)
- PubMed Central
- a free archive of biomedical and life sciences literature
- full text articles, journals, and books
- Selected Web
- a free collection of high quality web sites
- in the domain of chemistry, drugs, nutrition, health
- global coverage