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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)
  • Analysis & Visualisation, WG A&V (since 2006)


In addition to the working groups, there are a number of task forces that deal with special subjects or projects. Examples of task forces that deal with special subjects are the Biotechnology information task force and the Chemistry task force, both falling under WG R&E. Task forces that deal with a specific project (for instance comparison of machine translations) may be discontinued once they have completed their task.


Working Group R&E

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. 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 normally dedicated to presentations by external partners. The PDG organises various inter-company tests, comparisons and evaluation studies and the results are presented to the members and 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.


Working Group IMPACT

IMPACT focuses on the provision of patent information globally:

    data quality



    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.


Working Group PDV

The Working Group “Patent Database Vendors (PDV)” acts as the partner for discussions on strategic developments with the major information providers. We aim to get insight into strategic plans of the vendors and provide them with information regarding needs and challenges of the PDG members. Therefore, the PDV is a link between the PDG members, representing their current and future requirements, and the main vendors, reporting their developments back to the members of the PDG.

The main tasks for the PDV Working Group are to:

  • Discuss information requirements with key information vendors or upcoming technology providers on a strategic level.
  • Represent the interests of the PDG members by maintaining influential and beneficial working relationships with key patent information vendors.
  • Monitor market development of existing and new vendors of information and tools of relevance for the role of patent information professionals in collaboration with other PDG working groups.
  • Communicate the outcome of the discussions to all PDG members.


Working Group A & V

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, bibliometric, 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 vendors' future developments and policies. They intend to investigate the various business models, terms and conditions for using analysis and visualisation tools.


PDG Liaison Activities


PDG Liaison to BusinessEurope  (linked to WG IMPACT)

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 Members’ Conference in 2005 as a sub-working group of WG Online (now R&E). At its inception a major objective was to define the requirements for skilled patent information searchers. These requirements still 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. In 2016 the role of the chairperson was changed into a liaison one. Her or his aim was defined to help support the establishment of an organization to certify qualified patent information professionals (QPIP). This aim has been achieved in the meantime (foundation of ISBQPIP in August 2018, see ). The liaison is responsible to report to the board and the annual members’ conference on the perspectives and developments of ISBQPIP and to feed back on any educational requirements and opportunities discussed there.


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