IPVision Patent Family Maps™
IPVision Patent Family Maps™ are graphical time-based depictions of the patent family members of a given patent.  They are based on data shown on the United States Patent and Trademark Office PAIR (Patent Application Information Retrieval) System and, if applicable, the INPADOC foreign patent database at the European Patent Office.
NOTE: You are not authorized to create Patent Family Maps at your permission level although you can view Patent Family Maps prepared by IPVision or other users with appropriate permission levels.  The rest of this page explains what Patent Family Maps are and how to use them.  Please Contact IPVision for more information about ordering Patent Family Maps or upgrading your permission level.

Sample Patent Family Map

The following sample map shows US patent 7138346, shown shaded in yellow.  On the "tail" of that application is a small box which contains information about the initial filing.   The "PR" on the tail  indicates that the application claims priority from the application to the left to which it is connected.  Other abbreviations include C (Continuation) and CIP (Continuation in Part).  The green shaded small box on the "tail" of 7138346 is the corresponding published application.  The red topped and blue topped boxes with the shading on the right side are published US patent applications that are part of this patent family- they have not yet issued as patents.  The color coding depends on the legend selected - in this case it is "Current Assignee".  Click on the sample map to view an Interactive version, which will open in a new window (you may have to disable your popup blocker).   Once the new window is open, move your mouse and right click over each box to access the underlying data from the USPTO.


Abbreviations that may appear on a Patent Family Map include:

  • C = Continutation Application
  • CIP = Continuation-in-Part
  • D = Divisional Application
  • NSE = National Stage Entry
  • PR = Claims Priority From
  • RE = Reissue
  • REX = Re-examination

Because the USPTO PAIR System data are known to contain errors, we attempt to confirm the relationship between a "parent" application and a "child" application.  If one or the other does not "confirm" the relationship we indicate this by drawing a dotted line instead of a dashed line.  In the sample map to the left all relationships have been confirmed - hence the dashed lines.

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INPADPC Patent Families

INPADOC, which stands for International Patent Documentation Center, is an international patent collection that is produced and maintained by the European Patent Office (EPO).  It contains patent families and legal status information, and is updated weekly.  

An international Patent Family is a collection of applications or publications for an individual invention in more than one country, where the applications claim the same priority or priorities.  All of these "family members" are related to one another by common priority numbers with associated priority dates.  The concept of the patent family first emerged through the Paris Convention on the Protection of Industrial Property in 1883.  As explained by the European Patent Office, there are several definitions of what constitutes a patent family.

If you request the inclusion of INPADOC Patent Family Members when you create a Patent Family Map™, IPVision will scan the INPADOC database.  If any INPADOC patent family members are found they will be inserted at the bottom of the IPVision Patent Family Map™ as shown in the following example:

Click on the map thumbnail to view a live version of this map.  NOTE: you may have to disable your "popup" blocker.


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