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We know that individual patent documents can be tagged and automatically summarized via the sidebar. However, there is an issue that has not been addressed, involving the proper tagging of patent families.

  • Each patent document in a family has a different link from Google Patents. For instance, the WIPO application WO 2008/097922 A2 currently has twelve documents in its Google Patent “Also published as” field. Of those twelve, eight of them are in the same patent family, and four are in other patent families.
  • A recent question about this patent family referred to the US application, but the question really applies to the entire patent family. This is true for many (most, all?) questions.
  • Google Patents creates a different “Discuss this {application,patent}” link for each document in the patent family.
  • A relation from each document in the patent family on Google Patents to the appropriate tag in Ask Patents is available.
  • We have a maximum of five tags available to use for each question.

I believe that the goal should be to enable all appropriate links from Google Patents to resolve to all documents in a patent family with a single tag, so we reserve the option for using four other tags for their originally intended descriptive purposes, and so that we don't run into the following problem:

Too many patent document tags.

What are the best practices for tagging documents in a patent family?

My recommendation is to use tag synonyms for relating different documents in a patent family to each other. For instance, I could create all eight patent tags, create synonyms between them, and use whichever tag I feel is most appropriate for displaying information in the sidebar (e.g., the application or grant).

Would the moderators of this site be willing to test this on the above-linked question in order to determine whether it will be a workable solution and whether it has any unintended side effects? I don't yet have permission to create tag synonyms.

I’m looking at this from both Google’s and an end user’s perspective, as well as for the health of this community. If more links to Ask Patents from Google’s “Discuss this ...” button turn up relevant information from members of the same patent family, then more eyes will be on the actual content of this site instead of an empty search page. More eyes == more interest == greater participation.

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    In my opinion As Patent is primarily directed towards US patents and slightly to WO and EP. going with entire family may lead to obsolete data and raise to many incomplete entries. for e.g. what if new patent application are added later on. – Pushpak Aug 17 '15 at 11:05
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    @Pushpak Good points. However, I don’t think that individual members of a patent family are going to become obsolete. Once in a family, that association with other patent documents is permanent. A lack of complete synonymy is not necessarily a problem either; even partially complete patent family synonyms would be helpful, and the synonyms could always be edited in the future. – vallismortis Aug 17 '15 at 12:02
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    Good idea will be if somehow a script import virtual tags from google patent - also published as field and create virtual tag. Still to much unclear how to around it. – Pushpak Aug 17 '15 at 12:05
  • @Pushpak I thought about that too, but see the above example in the question. Google conflates multiple patent families and would not be a reliable source for such information. Establishing these synonyms manually (but not requiring them) would be one step forward. Further, using the existing tag synonym system would not require additional customization of this site, and would still allow the user asking the question to choose the most appropriate document tag (e.g., the WIPO or US application). – vallismortis Aug 17 '15 at 12:09

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