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Please look at work being done at the University of Manchester. GATE is a NLP toolkit that contains a user interface that allows users to find named entities in unstructured text documents. These entities include names of person, organizations, and geographical locations.

The first release of GATE was over 15 years ago and has been open source for the entire time it was released. People working in the NLP industry for some time should be very familiar with GATE.

Here is the overview page on their site.

Furthermore, a Google search on "named entity extraction" returns many links.

The first link is a link to Wikipedia. On this link they mention GATE as an example of software used to perform named entity extraction. Here is the link to that Wikipedia page:

This capability is the hardest part of this patent. The subsequent claims on relating like entities across several documents is trivial once named entity detection is available.

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This is an application for a patent, not an issued patent. It was rejected by the USPTO and went abandoned about two years ago due to no response from the applicant. The status and history of applications can be looked up at USPTO Public PAIR.

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Thanks! I will be careful to tell the difference between an application and a granted patent. This patent application is being used to challenge another patent application and as such I thought this was a granted patent. – user7325 Dec 3 '13 at 21:17
Anything published can be used to try to show a patent being applied for isn't new - an expired patent, a patent application, a journal article and documented web posting, any published, dated document is good "for what it teaches". – George White Dec 3 '13 at 21:30

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