The above-titled article by Christian Sternitzke, Adam Bartkowski, and Reinhard Schramm appeared in World Patent Information (Volume 30, Issue 2, June 2008, pages 115–131). The following is an excerpt from this article:
In recent years, developments in the field of social network analysis brought up several software tools that facilitate visualization, analysis and interpretation of cooperation and citation data, explaining the relationship between technology fields (IPC classes), patent applicants, inventors, patent documents, etc. The tools furthermore allow the combination of several other types of analysis presented in an earlier paper and enhance their visualization. The present paper, in contrast, highlights some types of network analysis of patent data which extend methodologies currently deployed in practice. First, these types of network analysis allow the identification of important players in technology fields or corporations. Second, the connections among the players can be used for competitor analysis or for identifying partners for joint development projects. Third, the methodologies also allows the identification of key patents, and fourth, rivalry between players in the technology field.
Citation networks of patent documents highlight not only frequently cited patent families but also those citing other patent families extensively. In our example, the latter case relates to a patent family by Rohm. This patent family is technologically very broad, citing more than 80 patent families within the network. Nichia, who was frequently cited by this patent family, sued Rohm for infringement.
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