Patent office releases new open data portal

It’s part of the agency’s recent push to do more with its data.

U.S. Patent and Trademark Office headquarters in Alexandria, Virginia. (Whitney Blair Wyckoff/FedScoop)

The Patent and Trademark Office has released an early version of a portal that allows users to more easily delve into the agency’s data.

The tool lets users explore charts and maps that illustrate patent filing trends, provides analytics about the agency’s web pages and offers a community spot where people can share what they’re working on.

Speaking before the Commerce Data Advisory Council meeting Friday in New York, Thomas Beach, senior adviser in the patent office’s Office of the Undersecretary and Director, said the tool could help researchers better understand how intellectual property influences the economy.


“The more we discuss and understand how patents relate to an ecosystem, such as innovation, the better we’re able to participate in it,” Beach said while demonstrating the tool. He added, “One of the key aspects of our open data program is to break down the barriers — to make anyone to be able to partake in this conversation.”

While the office soft-launched a basic version of the portal in January to little fanfare, it added several new tools on April 25 to help people use USPTO’s data, officials said. The office plans to add an API catalog tool in July.

[Read more: Patent office’s open data efforts detailed in new report]

USPTO recently been increasing its emphasis on data. In September, the agency released another tool that allows users to parse patent data from the agency, and a year ago, a nonprofit worked with the office to release a report that outlined some of the data challenges USPTO faces.

Beach said he and the agency’s “scrappy” new digital services team was leading the charge to use big data to boost “performance quality.”


“Our core mission can only get better with data,” he said.

Some elements of the portal’s design were developed during the agency’s “iconathon,” an event the agency held late last year where attendees designed symbols to stand for intellectual property and science concepts. Users can send the agency feedback on the beta version of the site by scrolling to the upper right corner of the page and clicking on the megaphone icon.

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