Anti-cliques Sets of Invention Topics

An anti-clique set of subclasses that have never been combined on a single U.S. patent as of 2018.

A prospective inventor could combine any subclass with any other subclass—or all other subclasses—to yield a truly new combination, using the anti-clique illustrated below.  The outer rim of the illustration includes the subclasses included in the anti-clique set, while the inner rims provide context.


Top Health Visualization Image


White spaces in patent landscapes are topics that have had minimal patenting.  Hence, identifying white spaces helps to stimulate new ideas for future inventions.  Below are three separate subclasses from an anti-clique that are separately clustered when arranged according to textual similarity (source:  Derwent/Clarivate Analytics).


Landscape of electronic health record software with a specific use of a drug and involved the compounding of organic substances

For example, it is possible that few inventors combined electronic health record software with a specific use of a drug and involved the compounding of organic substances.  There is no limit to the number of subclasses to combine, as long as all of them are in the same anti-clique set.

For a finer level of granularity with additional applications, we assembled a set of specific sub-topics (e.g., patent classification subgroups) that have never been combined on a single patent.  Below are downloadable examples of focused whitespace-landscape studies using focused anti-cliques.  These include studies of electronic medical records, Lyme disease, oncology topics, and other specific query symbols in the Cooperative Patent Classification (CPC) scheme.  New combinations in the therapeutics space could inspire drug repurposing, either incentivized by USPTO patents (methods, formulations, etc.) or FDA exclusivity (e.g., orphan drug designations). 








The full dataset is available via a downloadable Excel file, including anti-clique sets for nine example queries:

  • Electronic Clinical Trials or Questionnaires
  • Electronic Health Records
  • Lyme Disease
  • Cancer Therapeutics
  • Cancer Antigens
  • Immunoglobulins for Tumor Receptors
  • Nucleic Acid Diagnostics for Cancer
  • Chemical Analysis for Cancer Activity
  • Immunoassays for Cancer

An interactive interface that allows you to query for anti-cliques is coming soon…

Caveats:  Patents are subject to re-classification and classification rules change over time.  Therefore, users should understand the definitions of particular classification subgroups to interpret why the symbols may not have been co-classified.

Data Sources:

Definition of Anti-Clique, Generally:

Anti-clique Algorithm:

Author of this Page: Dr. Jesse P. Frumkin, PhD, MLA, MS (jesse [dot] frumkin [at] uspto [dot] gov)

Special thanks to: Gil Alterovitz, Scott Beliveau, Don Cenkci, Kiran Gunda, Scott Wurzel, Martyna Lopaczynska, and Henok Mikre.