Top 5 Patent Search Resolutions for 2011

Around this time of year, it’s in vogue to promise yourself that you’ll be better this year. No more indulging in fatty diets, no more putting off that novel you want to write, and no more stagnating in your quest for world domination. Here on the Intellogist® Blog, we’ll let you handle those resolutions on your own. I will, however, give you my personal “Patent Search Resolutions for 2011.”

Putting aside some of the worst mistakes you can make in a patent search, let’s focus on resolutions that will put our best foot forward this year. By setting goals for your growth as a prior art searcher this year, you can make yourself more valuable to your company, law firm, or contractor.

From embracing the new to remembering the tried and true, stick around to find out what my top 5 resolutions are!


Without further ado and in no particular order…

1. Utilize ECLA more often – The European Classification is quickly becoming my favorite and most used classification system after years of mainly using the plain jane International Patent Classification (IPC) and US Patent Classification systems. This year I’ll try to use the ECLA system since it’s specific, yet well organized (since it’s based on the IPC). ECLA is even slated to be the basis of a future common classification system. I’ll probably sprinkle in the diverse and unique F-Terms classification system (although maybe that’ll have to wait until next year’s list!).

2. Try new tools – Recent posts here on the Intellogist Blog have highlighted a crop of new non-patent literature searching tools such as NEEDLE and Image Search on Science.gov. This year I’ll keep my eyes peeled and make sure to test out what comes my way. These tools aren’t going to be useful in every prior art search, but it’s nice to have some experience with them for when a particularly tricky or niche search arises. It’s also nice to be able to recommend them to co-workers in a bind!

3. Diversify – I hate it when my main patent search system goes down in a heap of server problems or system updates. It happens very rarely, but it’s always upsetting when it does. This year I’ll try better to diversify my usage of the “heavy lifting” patent search systems so that I can easily move over to another system when one is unavailable.

4. Brainstorm for analogous art – Sometimes sitting quietly and thinking with a pen and pad of paper is just what a searcher needs. This year I’ll try to expand my searching criteria by thinking of analogous art areas ripe for searching. What other technology solves a similar problem? What structure resembles this structure? These questions can spark a connection that finds related prior art that may slip between classifications or keywords.

5. Ask for advice! – Whether it’s from a co-worker, former colleague, the Intellogist community, or the Intellectual Property community at large, there’s nothing wrong with asking for advice. Two great sources of advice are Intellogist’s community supported Best Practices Articles (register for free to contribute and add your own tips) and LinkedIn groups. Over on the Patent and Intellectual Property Practitioners Group alone, there have been an astronomical number of helpful comments from professionals around the world on our “Worst Mistakes” article!

What are your “Patent Search Resolutions for 2011?” You don’t have to give out five…we’d love to hear any and all of your goals for this year in the comments below!

Patent Searches from Landon IP

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This post was contributed by Intellogist Team member Chris Jagalla. The Intellogist blog is provided for free by Intellogist’s parent company, Landon IP, a major provider of patent search, technical translation, and information services.

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3 Responses

  1. My resolution is to know and love the subject specific files on Dialog and STN!

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