Sunday, September 6, 2009

Information Sources in Patents - a book review

Technology explosion in the last two centuries has brought about radical changes in the way we live, interact and conduct our business. Efforts towards channeling these developments have become a discipline in its own regard and this task became more structured when the human race moved in to the information age. The macroscopic analysis of patent data has taken our understanding to an altogether new level with the synergy it derived from the advent of information technology. Patent Informatics, a spin off, which has evolved as a result of developments in the way we handle information and because of our enhanced data processing skills has become pivotal in today’s technology development and management. Even now, there are relatively few guides and manuals which cater to the needs of various stake holders like patent information analysts, business managers, policy analysts, researchers, technology managers and students, in understanding and exploring the available patent information sources. Individual databases hosted by public and private organizations always provide the necessary functional and technical information necessary for using their databases to our advantage in the form of user manuals. However, it may not be that easy to actually maintain a host of these manuals because of the vast pool of databases that are in vogue. Stephen Adams attempted to address these problems in his guide titled Information Sources in Patents. This book comes to our rescue at a right time where we are overwhelmed with information and lost in the complex yet amazing world of patents.

The book is divided in to two parts with the first half dealing with the patent processes and documentation and the second half dealing with the databases and search techniques. The first five chapters makes up the first part and the next seven chapters makes up the rest and at the end a separate chapter is dedicated to throw some light on the future developments that are likely to take place in the areas of patent systems and patent searching.

As students of Intellectual Property & Technology Management (Agriculture), we take up courses which are centered on developing search strategies, conducting FTO analysis and infringement analysis. This guide on information sources in patents is well tailored to suit our academic and research needs. This book definitely is a master piece as it serves the purpose of a sign post offering the right direction for extracting the information from the growing patent data mines. It is a holistic book, which is as much helpful to a beginner as it is to an experienced professional patent search specialist.

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