Screening patents of ICT in construction using deep learning and NLP techniques

Hengqin Wu, Geoffrey Shen, Xue Lin, Minglei Li, Boyu Zhang, Clyde Zhengdao Li

Research output: Journal article publicationJournal articleAcademic researchpeer-review

7 Citations (Scopus)


Purpose: This study proposes an approach to solve the fundamental problem in using query-based methods (i.e. searching engines and patent retrieval tools) to screen patents of information and communication technology in construction (ICTC). The fundamental problem is that ICTC incorporates various techniques and thus cannot be simply represented by man-made queries. To investigate this concern, this study develops a binary classifier by utilizing deep learning and NLP techniques to automatically identify whether a patent is relevant to ICTC, thus accurately screening a corpus of ICTC patents. Design/methodology/approach: This study employs NLP techniques to convert the textual data of patents into numerical vectors. Then, a supervised deep learning model is developed to learn the relations between the input vectors and outputs. Findings: The validation results indicate that (1) the proposed approach has a better performance in screening ICTC patents than traditional machine learning methods; (2) besides the United States Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO) that provides structured and well-written patents, the approach could also accurately screen patents form Derwent Innovations Index (DIX), in which patents are written in different genres. Practical implications: This study contributes a specific collection for ICTC patents, which is not provided by the patent offices. Social implications: The proposed approach contributes an alternative manner in gathering a corpus of patents for domains like ICTC that neither exists as a searchable classification in patent offices, nor is accurately represented by man-made queries. Originality/value: A deep learning model with two layers of neurons is developed to learn the non-linear relations between the input features and outputs providing better performance than traditional machine learning models. This study uses advanced NLP techniques lemmatization and part-of-speech POS to process textual data of ICTC patents. This study contributes specific collection for ICTC patents which is not provided by the patent offices.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1891-1912
Number of pages22
JournalEngineering, Construction and Architectural Management
Issue number8
Publication statusPublished - 8 May 2020


  • Deep learning
  • ICT in construction
  • Information management
  • NLP

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Civil and Structural Engineering
  • Architecture
  • Building and Construction
  • Business, Management and Accounting(all)

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