STN vs GenomeQuest

… or why STN is going to fail. DGENE and USGENE recently introduced an option to limit sequence searches (BLAST) by % match. But I think it might just be too little to late for them.

For too long now STN has enjoyed the benefits of monopoly in the field of patent sequence searching. However, a new entrant in the domain threatens not only to end the monopoly but might also bring an end to STNs business in this field. GenomeQuest has quietly, but steadily has become the tool of choice for patent information searchers. More and more people, including some patent offices, have started accepting it as a standard. So why exactly is this happening??

Sequence searching on STN is complex, not-user friendly, and extremely expensive. On the other hand GenomeQuest offers a easy and intuitive interface for searching. Also, for searches with more than 50 odd patent results GenomeQuest becomes a more cost effective option, that too if you are searching on one database only through STN.

However, GenomeQuest is not without its share of problems. Their coverage so far is not comprehensive, and they do not have clear information on what patent-ranges (date or jurisdiction wise) are covered by them. Also, GenomeQuest lacks amount of filtering offered by STN.

The geek in me loves the STN for the impressive options, and here is what they need to do to get back ahead.

  1. Introduce a simple single combined search on all interfaces with automatic duplicate reduction. I understand this might not be possible in cases where the databases are supplied by different companies, like CAS Registry and DGENE, but you got to do it for business – so figure it out, will you!
  2. Reduce the cost and make the search affordable. Treat sequence searches (structure too if possible) as one search and charge a fixed amount (say USD 200-250) to do the search and display the results. No separate display charges.
  3. Keep up that brilliant customer service 🙂

So here. No go ahead, make the changes and be the best again STN!

PS: The views expressed above are mine alone and do not reflect those of my employer. Also, this post is not to defame any service.