I have been tracking on API related patents for some time. I regularly pull XML dumps from the US Patent Office, a process in which I am getting more refined, so that I am able to easily tag, and organize them alongside the rest of my research. I spent some time this last week diving into my DNS API research, and after updating the rest of the data behind, I added some DNS related patents.
The patent information is already available in my API monitoring system, I just needed to be able to tag the patents, and write a script to publish the tagged patents to each of my Github projects. Now that I have this in place, it is pretty easy for me to spend an hour or two looking through the patents that come each week, and putting them into each area of the API space I study--which is why I have organized my API research the way that I have.
The patent information provides shines another light on each layer of the space for me. Understanding the companies, tools, and individual API endpoints provide me with important insight on what is going on, but the patents being submitted are an extremely important indicator of what is actually going on behind the curtain within industries, and companies. With this addition, my research is finally reaching the levels I originally envisioned when I first began organizing my work in this way, going beyond what is available on the "features" page for each company, organization, institution, or government agency is doing with APIs.
I can extract a lot of information from the product pages of the companies who are doing APIs, but these pages are designed to tell a specific story. I find that API definitions, press releases, and patent filings often tell a different story than the company's main product page. I would say that all these areas lie, but marketing, API definitions, press releases, and patent filings are all designed to tell specific untruths designed for different masters, and when you lay them side by side you begin to see a more complete picture of what is really going on in the API space.