In the world of patent searches: approaching STN

imagen post 4 agosto 2014We can say that Germany, US and Japan came together to produce one of the most powerful tools for state of the art searching. STN is operated jointly by FIZ-Karlsruhe, by CAS in North America, and by the Japan Association for International Chemical Information (JAICI) in Tokyo.

We shall not go through the list of databases, technology areas and disciplines that STN covers. Let say that you can find everything, and in particular regarding patents, chemical information, including structure searches, pharmaceutical information, biosequences and toxicology.

Just to remember: it seems that no one knows which are the actual sources of this piece of information but you find it everywhere, and in the brochures of the STN web site too: “about 80% of the technical information disclosed through patent literature is not found anywhere else”. Therefore, you should consider this fact when you need to search state of the art.

If you want to search in patent databases among the so-called “first-level data bases” or the ones called “added-value data bases”, you have both at STN. Added-value data bases include specific abstract, indexes, classifications etc, prepared by a staff of experts, whereas first-level databases include full text and are more quickly updated.

Through STN you have access to Derwent World Patent Index, an added-value database with more than 20 million documents back to 1963 and updated every 3 to 4 days (we talked about it in previous articles), to INPADOC (the worldwide legal status database, also mentioned in our article of March 31st), to CAplus (a collection of records corresponding to patent inventions in the chemical arts; these records consist of re-written abstracts and special indexing content created by skilled persons) or the INPAFAM (a bibliographic patent family database, covering the full spectrum of patent technologies for 95 issuing authorities, dating from the early 1800s). In other words, you can have access to the best patent databases in the world.

Another piece of information to remember: Europe spends billions of euros every year in “researching” and “inventing” things that were already “researched, invented, and published”. According to the European Patent Office up to 30% of all expenditure in R&D is wasted on redeveloping existing inventions. This is another reason to make a meaningful search before starting a research project or before initiating a patenting procedure.

You can access STN in different ways and depending on the products you want to focus on, such as: STN Express – that offers access to STN’s complete portfolio of more than 180 scientific and technical databases, STN on the WebSTN Easy, STN AnaVisT or STN Viewer. For any of them you will need an STN account and Login ID. You will need to at least take a look at the brochure “STN® Access Guide”.

You also will be able to order STN to make searches for you, as single searches or on a subscription basis. There is a SDI Service (Selective Dissemination of Information Service) available, and an SDI profile can be set up after a search has been carried out. The search frequency (e.g., weekly, biweekly, or monthly) is to be chosen by the customer. The cost of the SDI Service depends on the complexity of the search query and the time and expenses incurred for initiating, checking, modifying, and deleting the search query as required by the customer.

Regarding prices, you can consult the “Price list search service” at the STN web site or even better, just contact them!. Everyone has experienced it at least once! –it is sometimes better to look for information using Google than the web site of the company providing the specific article or service you are interested in. This also seems to happen with STN. You “ask” google about the prices of STN and the company Intellogist comes to your aid: “A large reason why STN is not used as a primary search tool by many searchers is its relatively high cost. Often times, every time a term is searched or an answer is displayed, the user incurs a fee. This fact results in STN often being used only when other (less expensive) search tools have failed or are inadequate for a particular search.” You can also read at Intellogist the following: “users often adopt a strategy of “get in and get out”: sign on to STN, conduct the search quickly (or import a search strategy), save the results, and sign off. This type of strategy is designed to minimize costs while still providing quality results”.

After these hints on STN, we wish you all the best if you decide to have your own STN experience.

Seni Cueto