A Company By Any Other Name…

In this week's blog post, Senior Data Correlation Expert Dr. Maneesha Joshi talks data normalization for company names, the Innography Advantage, and serves up a little company name brain teaser...

So, a great idea has been implemented, an innovation is ready to be launched, and a business needs to be registered. What do you call your new venture? Do you go with the unique name that “has not been taken yet” – fzzywzzy LLC – or a descriptive form of your product – A Fuzzy Wuzzy Bear Company  - or a generic name that accounts for future growth – General Animal Corp?


What is rarely considered when naming a company, is whether a name is prone to misspelling or abbreviation. The official company name is written or typed numerous times by employees within a company, government regulatory agencies and patent offices, and on official company records and transactions. Typing errors are propagated and corrective actions on these official documents translate to time and money. I have lost count of the number of times I have typed Innography without the “r” or transposed letters turning “University” into “Univeristy”. It is all too easy to spell “Corporation” as “Corpration” as I found out through our company database.

The Innography Advantage

Innography has a knowledge-bank of misspellings and phonetic variations of company names that are present on patent applications and reassignment records at the patent offices. Our company-name matching engine codifies the usual suspects when it comes to these mistakes and learns from them.

Our company database of almost 9 million company names and variations is continuously improved by the addition of new company and subsidiary names and their variations. There are daily, weekly, and annual updates that improve the database via automated processes that use machine-learning algorithms along with manual testing and verification.

Patents with assignees as “Intaanashonaru Bijinesu Machiinzu Corp”, “Intl Business Machines Corp” and “IBM Crop” are all recognized in Innography as variations on “International Business Machines Corp”, and IBM’s patent portfolio accounts for them.

Company names have “endings” (and sometimes “beginnings”) that vary with the country of incorporation and with a little familiarity one can quickly place a company within a country (or few countries) by knowing the company qualifier (LLC, Corporation, Limited, GMBH, SRL, SA, NV, etc.). The qualifiers are in each country’s official language and on top of the spelling errors, we introduce the “character-set” dimension of variability: GMBH is “Gesellschaft mit beschränkter Haftung” and while I may love German, a company name is very likely to be made insignificant by its qualifier when not abbreviated. I would go for the abbreviated “Sp.Z.O.O” rather than the official “Spółka z ograniczoną odpowiedzialnością” for the Polish office of the new venture -  “General Animal Sp. Z.O.O.”, after all, sounds somewhat appropriate.

Quick Tip

Within Innography’s Advanced Analysis software, you can always get all patents with a particular assignee using the @organizationName keyword search but you could lose out on some of the spelling variations that accompany the company name. An alternative is the company page, which offers a comprehensive way to get all the patents that belong to the assignee as a company (including all the company’s subsidiaries and all their name variations), in one click.

A Puzzle...

Let me leave you with a couple of tricky company names to decipher. Answers will follow next week in the comments section below!

Patents with the following assignees should roll up to which companies?

  1. Ehj Ti Ehnd Ti Korp

  2. Maikuron Tekunorojii Inc


Maneesha Joshi, 04.03.2014

Congratulations Emma for correctly identifying the assignees/companies!
a. A T and T Corp
b. Micron Technology Inc

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