Interactive Overlay Maps for US Patent (USPTO) Data Based on aggregated IPC citation

Loet Leydesdorff loet at LEYDESDORFF.NET
Thu Oct 25 01:08:44 EDT 2012

Interactive Overlay Maps for US Patent (USPTO) Data
based on International Patent Classifications (IPC)

We report on the development of an interface <at> to the US Patent and Trademark Office
(USPTO) that allows for the mapping of patent portfolios as overlays to
basemaps constructed from citation relations among all patents contained in
this database during the period 1976-2011. Both the interface and the data
are in the public domain; the freeware program VOSViewer can be used for the


These basemaps and overlays can be generated at both the 3-digit and 4-digit
levels of the International Patent Classifications (IPC) of the World
Intellectual Property Organization (WIPO). The basemaps provide a stable
mental framework for analysts to follow developments over searches for
different years, which can be animated. The full flexibility of the advanced
search engine of USPTO is available for generating sets of patents which can
thus be visualized and compared. This instrument allows for addressing
questions about technological distance, diversity in portfolios, and
animating the developments of both technologies and technological capacities
of organizations over time. 


Loet Leydesdorff,a Duncan Kushnir,b & Ismael Rafolsc,d


** apologies for cross-postings.



a Amsterdam School of Communication Research (ASCoR), University of
Amsterdam, Kloveniersburgwal 48, 1012 CX Amsterdam, The Netherlands;
loet at;; * corresponding author. 

b Environmental Systems Analysis, Chalmers University of Technology,
Göteborg, Sweden; duncan.kushnir at 

c SPRU (Science and Technology Policy Research), University of Sussex,
Freeman Centre, Falmer Brighton, East Sussex BN1 9QE, United Kingdom;
i.rafols at 

d Ingenio (CSIC-UPV), Universitat Politècnica de València, València, Spain.

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