Disambiguating USPTO inventor names with semantic fingerprinting and DBSCAN clustering

Hongqi Han (Data Mining Group, Institute of Scientific and Technical Information of China, Haidian-qu, China and Key Laboratory of Rich-media Knowledge Organization and Service of Digital Publishing Content, SAPPRFT, Beijing, China)
Yongsheng Yu (Institute of Scientific and Technical Information of China, Haidian-qu, China)
Lijun Wang (Data Mining Group, Institute of Scientific and Technical Information of China, Haidian-qu, China)
Xiaorui Zhai (Data Mining Group, Institute of Scientific and Technical Information of China, Haidian-qu, China)
Yaxin Ran (Data Mining Group, Institute of Scientific and Technical Information of China, Haidian-qu, China)
Jingpeng Han (Beijing University of Technology, Beijing, China)

The Electronic Library

ISSN: 0264-0473

Publication date: 1 April 2019

Abstract

Purpose

The aim of this study is to present a novel approach based on semantic fingerprinting and a clustering algorithm called density-based spatial clustering of applications with noise (DBSCAN), which can be used to convert investor records into 128-bit semantic fingerprints. Inventor disambiguation is a method used to discover a unique set of underlying inventors and map a set of patents to their corresponding inventors. Resolving the ambiguities between inventors is necessary to improve the quality of the patent database and to ensure accurate entity-level analysis. Most existing methods are based on machine learning and, while they often show good performance, this comes at the cost of time, computational power and storage space.

Design/methodology/approach

Using DBSCAN, the meta and textual data in inventor records are converted into 128-bit semantic fingerprints. However, rather than using a string comparison or cosine similarity to calculate the distance between pair-wise fingerprint records, a binary number comparison function was used in DBSCAN. DBSCAN then clusters the inventor records based on this distance to disambiguate inventor names.

Findings

Experiments conducted on the PatentsView campaign database of the United States Patent and Trademark Office show that this method disambiguates inventor names with recall greater than 99 per cent in less time and with substantially smaller storage requirement.

Research limitations/implications

A better semantic fingerprint algorithm and a better distance function may improve precision. Setting of different clustering parameters for each block or other clustering algorithms will be considered to improve the accuracy of the disambiguation results even further.

Originality/value

Compared with the existing methods, the proposed method does not rely on feature selection and complex feature comparison computation. Most importantly, running time and storage requirements are drastically reduced.

Keywords

Citation

Han, H., Yu, Y., Wang, L., Zhai, X., Ran, Y. and Han, J. (2019), "Disambiguating USPTO inventor names with semantic fingerprinting and DBSCAN clustering", The Electronic Library, Vol. 37 No. 2, pp. 225-239. https://doi.org/10.1108/EL-12-2018-0232

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Publisher

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Emerald Publishing Limited

Copyright © 2019, Emerald Publishing Limited

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