Paper citations in patents as a business development tool

Last March this year Redtransfer organised a meeting for Spanish tech transfer managers in Madrid  where colleagues presented their views and experiences on several topics. Pedro Fernandez‘s talk caught my attention. A new, at least for me, use of patent databases as a tool to get leads for networking and commercialisation strategies.
The idea is to use the capability of some patent search engines to search papers for citations of patents, to check out our own papers, or the papers of a person of interest. When someone cites your paper in a patent you have a good argument to contact them and explore a partnering interest.
I have gone over the papers of the researchers I work with and indeed the tool has brought up a few surprises that are worth checking. The main drawback is that citation of papers in patents is not widespread and many times you will find none or very few leads even for papers that have good scientific impact.
All in all the tool can uncover interesting pieces of information of your research, and albeit with limited success in general, it can be a useful tool for business development and networking of an established research profile.
How to do it

Go to and choose the «Scholar» search option in the search field. Run a search and find the paper or papers that you would like to check. A search with author names is usually a good way to get several relevant papers in the same search. Then check their linked patent citations for leads!