Dr Nigel Clarke

Dr Nigel S. Clarke

In March 2021 after 30 year´s employment at the European Patent Office, EPO,  I set up an independent consultancy – Stanfield Clarke Associates  - operating in the intellectual property space. I am currently interested in the application of patent analytics to landscaping studies of future and emerging technologies,  patent data visualisation, the evolution of the commercial patent information sector, creating awareness of IP in the  STEM community, the development of IP teaching materials and science communication. I am a consultant in private practice, to WIPO and EUIPO.

 I have a first class honours BSc in physical chemistry and a PhD in neutron science both from Exeter University. I have postgraduate qualifications in defence studies from the (then) Royal Military College of Science, Shrivenham. I am PRINCE II qualified. I have had management responsibilities for project management, finance, staff reporting, crisis management, resources, change management, quality assurance  etc.

Research Interests.

The interest in, and uptake of, IP especially patent information in the STEM community.

Patent analysis and landscaping  of future and emerging technologies

Metaverse applied to patent documentation, the patent landscape of virtual and augmented realities. Convergence with additive manufacturing.

Non textual chemical structure patent searching

The role of patent information in the innovation cycle


Member Royal Society of Chemistry MRSC

Chartered Chemist CChem

Member Institute of Physics MInstP

Chartered Physicist CPhys

Science Council Chartered Scientist CSci

Academic Activities

I have lectured on Frank Tietze´s 4E1 course,

I am a regular lecturer on the Managing IP MSc course at QMUL

I am a guest lecturer at Kingston University

I am Visiting Fellow for Innovation and Creativity at Oxford Brookes University

I am a career mentor for undergraduates and graduates at Exeter University

I have tutored Interns and new recruits at the EPO

I have advised a number of MSc and PhD candidates on their dissertations and theses.

I was Industrial placement tutor for undergraduates (Oxford, Sheffield) seconded to the MoD(PE).

I am chairman/member of the Institute of Physics assessment panel for Chartered Physicist status CPhys

I have been a member of the Editorial Board of World Patent Information (Elsevier) since 2002

I was a “scenario builder” for the EPO Scenarios for the Future project pub. 2007

I was the EPO liaison on the International Standards Organisation (ISO) Management of Innovation Working Group (WG276) which published ISO 56002 Innovation management — Innovation management system — Guidance

I served as advisory board member for IPACST

I am a reviewer for Nature Biotechnology

I have recently reviewed manuscripts submitted to IEEE Transactions in Engineering Management

I am a Judge/Organiser of the International Schools Science Fair held annually in Vienna.

I am a founder member of the Patent Olympiad – an international patent search competition

I was an organiser of the inaugural “Pint of Science” science festival held for the first time in Vienna in 2017. This became “Wissensdurst” after a dispute with the originators in the UK, and IP considerations required a change of branding.


I joined the European Patent Office in 1991. Initially appointed as a patent examiner in electron- and ion optics, I was located at the EPO´s branch at The Hague.

I was seconded to the IT department to manage procurement projects (€multi-million equivalent). This involved the cradle-to-grave procurement cycle and just-in-time, right-first-time, on-site upgrades and installations, with operational and compatibility testing.

In 1994 I moved to the EPO in Vienna to run the international patent information centres programme (PATLIB). This involved supporting the network of these centres throughout the European Patent Organisation member states and organising the annual PATLIB conference to take place in a different member state each time. This required a level of political sensitivity and diplomacy.

In parallel I managed a number of market research studies to understand the use of patent information as a resource for R&D, Innovation, tech transfer and industry. This research was carried out across Europe, the USA, and Japan.

In 2002 I was appointed as application manager “product champion” for the EPO´s online patent information database Espacenet.  This involved overseeing the entire product from eliciting user requirements, s/w development, testing, customer relations, to marketing and promotion, including managing trade marks. In due course my job grew to include the same activities for all of the EPO´s free-to-use online patent information services. In this role I was able to lecture and publish worldwide.

In 2016 a new position was created – and I was appointed head of patent research. I led a virtual team of patent analysts, patent examiners and external consultants I established 3 main activities –

  • patent analysis applied to specific technical fields – patent landscaping.
  • study and report on the evolution of products and services in the commercial patent information sector
  • study of the use of patent information by international organisations such as the EU institutions, UN agencies, NGO´s etc

The patent analysis activity proved to be particularly interesting and productive. We produced a number of studies on topics as diverse as Blockchain, graphene, quantum technologies, additive manufacturing, cancer immunotherapy, and space technology. A major activity in 2020-2021 was the creation of the “Fighting Coronavirus with patent information” platform. I coordinated the input of patent examiners in The Hague and Munich, patent analysts in Vienna and the communication team also in Munich. A number of other studies are in preparation. I set up a unit (Future and Emerging Technology analysis, FETa) with budget of €500.000 over 3 years to continue the patent analytics.

Before joining the EPO I was employed by the UK Ministry of Defence (Procurement Executive). My final position with the MoD(PE) was as deputy section leader working in the development of PVD technology for refractory metal coatings on strategic metal substrates. I was responsible for the prototype production operation and staff development. I was also facilities manager.

Prior to this I had been recruited to a research post – working on focussed energy beams (x-ray, electron, ion,  laser) for materials microanalysis. I managed research contracts with Cambridge University (Metallurgy and Materials department) and with local high tech companies (Cambridge Consultants Ltd, Cambridge Mass Spectrometry Ltd, Kore Technology Ltd, Cambridge Instruments Ltd). Laser Ionisation Time of Flight Mass Spectrometry for bulk materials was a world´s first. This was a very productive phase with several publications and presentations at international conferences. It was also an exciting time for science (high temperature superconductivity, scanning probe microscopy etc), notwithstanding controversies like cold fusion. I was involved in debunking the claims. I was also involved in developing computer assisted/audio visual  training modules for assorted specialist audiences; radiochemical analysis, radiological safety, and anti-terrorist measures for security forces.

Before  permanent employment I was a post-doc researcher at Surrey University, Metallurgy and Materials department studying PAN carbon fibre surfaces.

My PhD was concerned with proton dynamics – molecular spectroscopy - of water adsorbed on iron oxide surfaces, probed by neutron scattering. Laboratory work at university included characterisation of the oxide substrates and creating calibrated samples dosed with water vapour. Part of the success of my research was due to a disclosure in a patent application for the synthesis of iron oxide with specific micro/nano -crystalline characteristics.  Inelastic, quasi-elastic, and small angle neutron scattering experiments and data analysis, were carried out at AERE Harwell, the Rutherford Appleton Laboratory, Chilton, and the Institute Laue-Langevin, Grenoble.

Selected Publications and Presentations

The Evolution of Quantum Simulation Technology – A Patent Landscape Analysis

Nigel S. Clarke, Andreas Gröger, Björn Jürgens – European Quantum Technology Conference, Dublin 29th November – 2nd December 2021.

Nigel S. Clarke Sonia Kaufmann Christof Sodtke Carlos Weber (EPO) Sebastian Moranta Tomas Hrozensky (ESPI) Aude de Clercq Nuria Hernandez Alfageme Stephan Speidel (ESA) Jochen Spuck (Econsight) Cosmonautics – the development of space-related technology in terms of patent activity.$FILE/patent_insight_report-cosmonautics_en.pdf



Fighting Coronavirus with Patent Information (Nigel S. Clarke – project lead)


Nigel S. Clarke, Björn Jürgens, Victor Herrero Solana, Blockchain patent landscaping: An expert based methodology and search query

June 2020 World Patent Information 61(2):101964



Alain Materne, Gershom SleightholmeNigelClarke Beyond patent families

World Patent Information Volume 59, December 2019, 101928


Nigel S. Clarke, S Friedrichs, Periodic Table of Patents

(Royal Society of Chemistry IYPT Grant)

Björn Jürgens, Nigel S. Clarke, Evolution of CAR T-cell immunotherapy in terms of patenting activity

April 2019 Nature Biotechnology 37(4):370-375


Nigel S. Clarke The basics of patent searching

September 2018 World Patent Information 54:S4-S10


Nigel S. Clarke, Christine Kämmer China patent annual conference (CPAC) 5th 6th September 2017 Beijing China

March 2018 World Patent Information 52:17-18


Björn Jürgens, Nigel S. Clarke. Study and comparison of the unique selling propositions (USPs) of free-to-use multinational patent search systems

January 2018 World Patent Information 52 DOI:10.1016/j.wpi.2018.01.001


Nigel S. Clarke.  Logo fail

February 2016 Physics World 29(2):22-22


Stefan Haertinger, Nigel S. Clarke. Using Patent Classification To Discover Chemical Information in a Free Patent Database: Challenges and Opportunities

December 2015 Journal of Chemical Education 93(3)


Nigel Clarke, Yolanda Sánchez García IPTK Search Tools in Intellectual Property Teaching Kit European Patent Office, Munich, 978-3-89605-140-0 (2015)


Nigel Clarke, Keri Rowles Ch 5 Roderick A. MacLeod, Jim Corlett (Eds.), Information Sources in Engineering (fourth ed.), De Gruyter Saur (April 2012), pp. 74-92

ISBN: 928-3-11-093076-4


Nigel Clarke. Searching Patents. The Handbook of European Intellectual Property 2nd Edn. Pp 117 – 121. Eds Adam Jolly, Jeremy Philpott. Pub. Kogan Page. 2009. ISBN  978 0 7494 5591 0

Nigel Clarke. Find the Answer First. The Guardian, Special Supplement, Intellectual Property.

27th  March 2009

Nigel Clarke. Hedy´s Big Bang Theory, Daily Mail 19th April 2007

Nigel S. Clarke.  Patenting perils May 2014 Physics World 27(05):23-24



Nigel S. Clarke. Not quite a lifetime with PATLIB

March 2004 World Patent Information 26(1):49-55


Clarke, Nigel. (2001). Marketing patent information services on the Internet: Fighting fire with fire. World Patent Information. 23. 287-293. 10.1016/S0172-2190(01)00030-8.

Clarke, Nigel & Brown, J.. (1997). PATLIB 96 — Conference summary. World Patent Information. 19. 87-87. 10.1016/S0172-2190(97)82783-4.

Hall, Peter & Clarke, Nigel & Maynard, Stephen. (1995). Inelastic Neutron Scattering (TFXA) Study of Hydrogen Modes in .alpha.-FeOOH (Goethite) and .gamma.-FeOOH (Lepidocrocite). The Journal of Physical Chemistry. 99. 10.1021/j100015a059.

Nigel Clarke Sources of Patent Information: The European Patent Office. Institute of Physics. Physics in Business. October 1993

Clarke, Nigel & Hall, P.. (1992). Adsorption of water vapor by iron oxides. 3. Inelastic incoherent neutron scattering from water adsorbed on magnetite: Evidence for an icelike structure. Langmuir. 8. 645-649. 10.1021/la00038a057.

Clarke, Nigel & Hall, P.. (1991). Adsorption of water vapor by iron oxides. 2. Water isotherms and X-ray photoelectron spectroscopy. Langmuir. 7. 10.1021/la00052a015.

Clarke, Nigel & Hall, P.. (1991). Adsorption of water vapor by iron oxides. 1. Preparation and characterization of the adsorbents. Langmuir. 7. 10.1021/la00052a014.

P.R. Drewett, P.A. Mackett, N.S. Clarke, P.M. Finnerty, S. Bull. The Protection of Reactive Metal Substrates with Sputter Ion Plated Oxidation Resistant Coatings. Proc 8th Int Conf Ion and Plasma Assisted Techniques (IPAT 91) Brussels May 1991, CEP Consultants ISBN 0905941  4 p 239

Phillipa A. Mackett, P.R. Drewett, N.S. Clarke, D.G. Teer, K. Laing Thick Refractory Coatings for High Temperature Protection of T318 Alloy. Proc 8th Int Conf Ion and Plasma Assisted Techniques (IPAT 91) Brussels May 1991, CEP Consultants ISBN 0905941  4 p273

P.R. Drewett, B.W. Haley, N.S. Clarke Some Experiences With a Novel PVD Coating System. Proc 8th Int Conf Ion and Plasma Assisted Techniques (IPAT 91) Brussels May 1991, CEP Consultants ISBN 0905941  4 p 374

N.S. Clarke Laser Microprobe Mass Spectrometry. Microsc. Anal. 332-36 Sept 1989

N.S. Clarke Laser Microprobe Mass Spectrometry Chem Br 484 25(5) 1989

J.C. Ruckman, N.S. Clarke, A.R. Davey. Depth Profile Analysis Using  LIMA of Thin Films on Bulk Materials. Proc. 32nd UKAEA Conference; Materials Analysis by Physical Techniques.  Harwell Report AERA R11655 (1984)

N.S. Clarke, J.C. Ruckman, A.R. Davey. Depth Profile Analysis of Thin Films on Bulk Materials Using Laser-Induced Mass Analysis Proc 12th US DoE Conference on Surface Science. Oak Ridge National Laboratory, June 1984

J.C. Ruckman, N.S. Clarke. A.R. Davey. Laser Microprobe Micro-Analysis Using the Laser-induced Ion Mass Analyser, LIMA. Proc 12th US DoE Conference on Surface Science. Oak Ridge National Laboratory, June 1984

N.S. Clarke, J.C. Ruckman, A.R. Davey Phenomenological Aspects of Laser-induced Ion Mass Analysis. Microbeam Analysis (A.D. Romig, J.I. Goldstein Eds) San Francisco Press p31

N.S. Clarke, J.C. Ruckman, A.R. Davey. Detection of Cluster Ions Using the LIMA Technique. Microbeam Analysis (A.D. Romig, J.I. Goldstein Eds.) San Francisco Press p 40 (1984)

J.C. Ruckman, A.R. Davey N.S. Clarke Laser-induced Ion Mass Analysis: A Novel Technique for Solid State Examination. Vacuum 34 10-11 911 (1984).

N.S. Clarke, J.C. Ruckman The Application of Backscattered Electron Imaging and Atomic Number Contrast to the Analysis of Microstructures. AWRE Report 06/84 HMSO (1984)

J.C. Ruckman A.R. Davey N.S. Clarke LIMA: A Novel Laser -induced Mass Analyser .

 AWRE Report 02/84 HMSO 1984 ISBN 0855181567, 9780855181567




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