Here at Ambercite we believe that merely counting the number of forward citations is an overly simplistic means of assessing the quality of a patent.An analogy can be drawn to judging the effectiveness of a professional by how many people they know – interesting, but what you also need to know is how important their contacts are, and who their contacts know. The quiet guy down the road with few apparent friends might be chief of staff for President Obama. This is why we have developed NPA, to draw upon the data in the wider patent network to help assess patent quality.
Regardless, while analysing the world’s patent literature as part of our product development program, we came across the ‘Godfather’ patent, with an astounding 2432 (and counting) forward citations. The honour of the patent with the most forward citations belongs to US patent 4,683,202 “Process for amplifying nucleic acid sequences”, invented by Nobel Laureate Kary Mullis and now owned by Bioniche Life Sciences. In second and third positions we have US patent 4,723,129 ‘Bubble jet recording method and apparatus...” to Canon with 2254 forward citations, and US patent 4,683,195 “Process for amplifying, detecting, and/or-cloning nucleic acid sequences” with 2245 forward citations and closely related to the ‘Godfather’ patent. These are clearly important inventions that have catalysed a large number of later improvements. We congratulate Dr Mullis and Canon on their patented contributions to mankind.Mike Lloyd