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Working Groups and Liaison Functions

The Working Group (WG) concept forms the backbone of the PDG. The task of monitoring, testing or comparing patent information resources is carried out within the WGs of the PDG in such a way that there is no duplication of effort but, if advantageous, there is cooperation between different WGs. Each WG has a chairperson, selected from the WG members, who is responsible for its smooth operation and who presents an annual report of progress and future plans at the Members' Conference.

Companies that send their experts to the working group sessions (usually once or twice a year) consider their time and money well spent. They share and exchange their experiences concerning databases, hosts, vendors and producers. Furthermore, they make qualified and considered proposals to the vendors for improvements, new services and products. Member organisations can carry out surveys within the PDG but the results remain confidential within the participating organisations.

At present, the PDG has the following Working Groups:

  • Data Retrieval and Evaluation, WG R&E (formerly known as Networks and on-line retrieval, WG ONLINE) (since 1976)
  • Impact of patent laws on documentation, WG IMPACT (since 1980)
  • Patent database vendors, WG PDV (since 1992)
  • Internal management of information, WG IMI (since 1994) - currently inactive
  • Biotechnology searching (since 2001 linked to the WG R&E)
  • Analysis & Visualisation, WG A&V (since 2006)


In addition to the larger, well-established working groups, there are at any one time a number of short-term ad hoc working groups or task forces that deal with special projects or subjects that require immediate investigation. Over the years, many such task forces have been set up and then discontinued once they have completed their task.


Main Working Group Data Retrieval and Evaluation

The first meeting of the Working Group Data Retrieval and Evaluation (then called Working Group Networks and Online Retrieval) took place in 1976, when online searching was still in its infancy, which makes it the oldest WG of the PDG but it still has the largest number of active and regular participants. The majority of its members are professional information scientists or engineers involved in the day-to-day business of information retrieval. This WG was set up for exchanging experience in the use of electronic databases, online searching, quality of databases as supplied by various hosts, internet, communication and retrieval software. The group aims to provide a forum for information specialists to meet and exchange ideas and experiences on searching for patent information. The members discuss problems associated with searching patent information and suggest solutions. The WG meets once a year for a two-day meeting hosted by a Member Company and the second day of this meeting is dedicated to presentations by external partners. The PDG organises various inter-company tests, comparisons and evaluation studies and the results are presented to the invited information providers in a uniform and objective manner. This approach has proven to be very effective for drawing attention to the needs of professional patent information searchers in industry.


Main Working Group IMPACT

IMPACT focuses on the provision of patent information globally:

 ►   data quality

 ►   availability

 ►   timeliness

 ►   user-friendly access

IMPACT was founded in 1980 as a response to:

• Difficulties with documentation aspects of the new patent systems like EPC and PCT introduction of new IT systems

• Necessity of building up channels of communication with the national/regional offices

The successful way of working is based on:

•  A "round table-strategy" to tackle the issues involving all the relevant partners – EPO, WIPO, national offices (DE, ES, FR, RU, SE), EPI  (patent attorneys), main vendors and hosts like CAS, Questel, STN and Thomson Reuters together with industry

•  Wide range of professions: from information specialists to patent attorneys

•  Long-term staying power in pursuing "actions" to tackle specific issues

•  Participation in the most important meetings and conferences organized by EPO, WIPO, national offices and providers to establish a far reaching network

The scope and focus of the PDG Working Group IMPACT is as follows:

•  Actively work with patent authorities, WIPO, relevant organizations such as epi (European Patent Institute), national and international user groups and relevant commercial producers with respect to raw data quality, availability, reliability and consistency

Recently, the main topics of the group are:

•  Worldwide legal status data: access, standardization and cooperation

•  Coverage of patent information from Asia, Latin America and Arabian countries

•  PCT cases entering the national and regional phase

•  IP 5 activities

•  WIPO as standardization, classification and publishing authority

The group meets twice a year (spring, autumn) at one of the participating organizations.


Main Working Group Patent Database Vendors

As the name implies, this group focuses on the relationships with major patent information suppliers. The group aims to build good working relationships with key patent information vendors, to understand their strategies and to represent the interests of the users in industry and help to maintain the balance of public vs. private sector. The WG monitors and makes contact with new vendors and / or products on the market, in order to assess their suitability for Member Companies. Matters discussed cover such items as vendor strategy, pricing structure, invoicing, information policy, database quality, etc. This working group often functions as a kind of "think-tank" for the PDG Board. The group usually meets twice a year for a one day meeting and invites decision makers from patent database vendors to exchange views and present their latest enhancements and future plans.


Main Working Group Analysis & Visualisation

This WG aims to provide a forum for continuous exchange of best practices and experiences. The aim is better understanding of the terminologies such as data mining, text mining, bib

liometric, scientometrics, patentometrics and technology, e.g. algorithms and the identification and the evaluation of tools of interest (vendors' presentations, trials, WG presentations). This WG wants to consolidate requirements with regards to v endors' future developments and policies. They intend to investigate the various business models, terms and conditions for using analysis and visualisation tools.


Sub Working Group Biotechnology Searching (linked to WG R&E)

The aim of this WG is to identify relevant sources and compare their advantages, limitations and differing implementations on various hosts. Members of this group have worked hard to develop effective communication channels with vendors / database producers regarding policy, pricing, and timeliness. One of their major aims is to create a system to deepen, improve and renew the existing crude and limited indexing / classification of biotech patents and literature. This would require the creation of a thesaurus. The group collaborates constructively with patent offices in order to improve the existing patent classification systems and has an EPO examiner as a permanent group member.They want to work towards a single user interface for homology searching as well as identifying and testing post-processing tools in a biotech context. This Working Group is linked to the main WG R&E.


PDG Liaison Activities


PDG Liaison to BusinessEurope  (linked to WG Impact and PDG Board)

In 2012, the 5 largest IP offices of Europe, USA, China, Korea and Japan i.e. IP5 Offices  expressed their common conviction that future IP5 initiatives should have a strong focus on user needs. Through regular meetings and consultations with industry representatives of the IP5 regions ("IP5 Industry"), the IP5 Offices want to ensure user involvement at an early stage of IP5 projects and co-operation initiatives. The  IP5 industry organization chosen for representing Europe is BusinessEurope (BE).  The PDG teams up with BE when patent information topics are to be discussed. The aim is to be informed about patent information issues (within IP5) at an early stage and then to bring in the PDG vision, opinion as well as practical approaches to the topics.


PDG Liaison for Education & Training  (linked to WG R&E)

Education & Training  was founded during the PDG Annual Conference in 2005. A major objective  is to define the requirements for a skilled patent information searcher. These requirements are intended to serve as an input for educational institutes to provide training programmes for new entrants in the profession leading to examination and certification. The aim is to help support the establishment of a suitable, internationally recognised qualification for professional patent information searcher.


Working Group Internal Management of Information (currently inactive)

The PDG Working Group "Internal Management of Information" serves as a forum for the exchange of knowledge and experience in the field of information management and to give leaders of Information and Documentation (I&D) centres support in the management of their departments. This WG was formed to address the challenges involved in information management. These include organisation of information centres, human resources, methods and technicalities in general with priority given to patent information, internal marketing, competitive intelligence, cost-analysis, and end-user searching and training. Presentations and discussions on these subjects give managers of I & D centres the opportunity for interchange of expertise and ideas