Citation explorer


The Citation Explorer is a tool to explore patent citations using multiple visualization techniques. From a target patent, you can review backward and forward citations. You can display the visualization in a citation tree or timeline with 1, 5 or 10 year increments and it allows you to see relationships based on bibliographic fields (Publication number, Application number, Applicant and Inventor) by changing the label and color of the citation nodes.

The Citation Explorer consists of the following elements:

  • Explorer view (support-number-1.png)
    Choose how the citations are shown. Tree is the default view, but you can also show the citations in a timeline with 1, 5 or 10 year increments. 
  • Actions (support-number-2.png)
    The actions menu allows you to perform briefcase actions and to export the citation tree to an Image, Powerpoint and Excel.
  • Navigator (support-number-3.png)
    Shows what part of the visualization is visible on the screen and allows you to quickly navigate to another part of the visualiation you want to see.

Open Citation Explorer


You can click on the (citationexplorer.png) Citation Explorer-button (support-number-1.png) in the upper right corner of the Patentviewer or if you go to the Citations tab (support-number-2.png) of the patent you are viewing, then you will see the View in Citation Explorer-button to open the Citation Explorer.

Citation nodes

citation-node.pngThe citation node in the center with a thick border represents the target patent. Connecting lines identify reference relationships. By default, the target patent will be shown in blue together with the patents that have the same applicant/inventor/country prefix as the target patent.

backward-citation.pngThe citation nodes to the left of the target patent are backward citations, they have the shape of a backward arrow.  Backward citations are patents that the target patent has cited.

forward-citation.pngThe citations nodes to the right of the target patent are forward citations, they have the shape of a forward arrow. Forward citations are patents that cite the target patent.

The numbers on the left of each citation node indicate the number of backward citations for that patent, the number on the right indicate the number of forward citations for that patent.

read-citation.pngA citation node with a blue border indicates that you have already viewed the citations of that patent. 

The text on the citation node depends on the selected label. Applicant is selected by default. When only a portion of the text appears on the citation node, you can mouseover on the citation node and a tooltip will appear where you can see the full applicant name and other bibliographic information.

citation-limit.pngA citation node with red text above the backward/forward citations count indicates that only the top 50 backward or forward citations are shown. Remark: This limit doesn't apply when you choose to add the citations to your briefcase!

To explore the citations of another patent in the Citation Explorer, you can click on a citation node.

Change citation node label and color


When you mouseover over a citation node, a tooltip will appear. Besides showing bibliographic information, you are also able to highlight the node in a specific color (support-number-1.png) and change the label (support-number-2.png) that is shown in the citation nodes. 

To highlight a citation node in a specific color (support-number-1.png) , you just have to click on the color that you want to use. When you highlighted a citation node, you will notice that all patents with the same label will also be highlighted in that color. By default, the visualization will color the patents that are having the same label like the target patent, this makes it easier to find the self-citations (label = applicant) or citations from the same country (label = publication number or application number). 

The Label dropdown  (support-number-2.png) allows you to change the text that is shown in the node. You can choose between applicant, inventor, publication number or application number.


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