As much as we think software and business-process patents are harmful to the industry as a whole, patents are core to the R&D processes of many companies.
Aurigin Systems Aureka Silver lets companies discover what their competitors are trying to patent or have patented, as well as find out which other patents cite their own patents.
The online service starts at $1,250 for the first user per month, and a new version was launched Oct. 15. Aurigins database tracks 12 million patents held at four organizations: the U.S., European and Japanese patent offices and the World Intellectual Property Organization. The database is updated weekly and includes both issued patents and patent applications.
Aureka Silver can search for, and show, specific patents (which, at least for U.S. patents, can be done free online at www.uspto.gov). However, it also offers analysis features that, for example, let users see which inventors are producing the most patents in a given area.
The service can also show tree diagrams of relationships among patents and can provide a textual analysis of key words in a group of patents (see screen, above left), a new feature in this update. (Aurigins higher-end Aureka Gold is required to create the content cluster maps.)