Searching for Beauty: How to Search for US Plant Patents

Spring is here, and since the azaleas are blooming and gardens everywhere are looking lovely, I thought I’d honor spring by writing a quick primer on searching for U.S. plant patents.  The USPTO website provides a thourough guide on how to apply for a plant patent, and this guide gives the following definition for plant patents in the U.S.:

A plant patent is granted by the Government to an inventor (or the inventor’s heirs or assigns) who has invented or discovered and asexually reproduced a distinct and new variety of plant, other than a tuber propagated plant or a plant found in an uncultivated state. The grant, which lasts for 20 years from the date of filing the application, protects the inventor’s right to exclude others from asexually reproducing, selling, or using the plant so reproduced.

Plant patents account for only a very small percentage of total US patent applications and granted patents: in 2012, there were only 1,149 plant patent applications, out of 576,763 total applications, and 860 granted plant patents.  So where should you begin your hunt for this rare species of US patent?

Read on to learn the best search strategies for searching for plant patent records on the USPTO website and Google Patents! Continue reading

My Favorite Patent Search Tool Updates of 2012

Another year has come and gone, and it’s that time in December where we’re all racing to the nearest mall (or Amazon) to shop for holiday gifts for the important people in our lives.  Patent searchers enjoy getting presents too, and each database update is a small gift of new features and tools to improve the prior art search and analysis processes.  New databases and search platforms are the equivalent of a new bicycle or Xbox, and searchers can’t wait to take the new system for a test ride.  Like last year, I’d like to highlight a few of my favorite patent search gifts that I’ve received in the last twelve months, including updates and new platforms for both free and subscription patent search systems. Over the past year, there have been major updates to Orbit.com, Google Patents, and Espacenet, and I’ve been impressed by new patent search tools like the CCD and WIPS Global ADVANCED. Patent searchers have received an abundance of gifts this year, but professionals who work with patent file histories shouldn’t feel left out, either: they can take an innovative new patent file history service for a free test ride!

After the jump, learn about the best patent search system updates and new tools of 2012, as well as a unique resource for professionals who review patent file histories!

Continue reading

What you need to know about changes to Google Patents

Users of the free Google Patents search service may have noticed some changes to the search interface,  display options, and coverage for the system in the past week, and some of these changes are briefly mentioned in the Official Google Blog. The most obvious alteration to the search interface is that all search tool options are now located above the search results, instead of in a side-menu to the left of the result list. The grid configuration is also no longer available for the result set, so users can only view the results in a list view.  For each result, users have the option to select “Overview” (full record), “Related” (link to Prior Art Finder tool), or “Discuss” (link to the “Ask Patents” website). Finally, EP patent documents can now be searched on the Google Patents interface.   Most of these alterations are relatively neutral and will not affect your search strategy, but the addition of EP patent documents is a big improvement to the coverage of the Google Patents system.  The decision to get rid of the grid view will come as a disappointment to patent searchers specialized in the mechanical arts who often use images in search result lists to judge relevance (just as the disappearance of the Cover View in the summer of 2011 was equally disappointing).

After the jump, we’ll take a tour of the recent changes to the coverage, search and viewing options on Google Patents!

Continue reading

Google’s “Prior Art Finder” — What it is and what it isn’t

Google announced a major update to their Google Patents search tool yesterday. These changes include two main offerings:

1. The inclusion of EP documents
2. The introduction of the “Prior Art Finder” tool

As of the writing of this blog post, it appears that while EP documents are available within the Google Patents search system (such as this document), they do not come up normally in results lists for search queries. This is the case even when using verbatim title searching or document number searching, and the advanced search form does not include any options for searching EP documents, either. However, this seems like a glitch or gradual roll-out that Google is well known for and not a permanent issue. The inclusion of EP documents is a major boon to those who prefer Google Patents over Espacenet (in the free search tool domain). EP data is but the first step towards making Google Patents a more viable search tool for more than a quick starting point or “silver-bullet” type search.

As for the Prior Art Finder tool: I’ve got a lot to say about how that feature works, what it can do for the professional searcher, and what it means for the future of prior art search after the jump.

Continue reading

Patent Searching Tips: Using Google to narrow it down

On this special episode of Danny Rooney, Danny tries to do something he has never done before…be serious.

Today, I want to give a quick refresher on how to use two patent search systems together to find results quickly and easily. This information may be entry level for patent search experts, such as those over at our parent company Landon IP, but it’s always good to brush up on the basics.

In our example today, I am going to use Google Patent Search System (Google Patents) in combination with a more in-depth patent search system such as PatBase, Thomson Innovation, or TotalPatent.

Most major stand-alone search engines are great at searching large quantities of patent data, but it is sometimes difficult to quickly and easily find a patent document representative of a particular prior art genre, especially if the art uses plenty of vague terms (think of generic terms like “member,” “mechanism,” or “surface”). Say, for instance, we have a widget that we are going to search for, and only have some simple data like a drawing, some claims and a brief description. If we enter those basic terms into a major patent search system, we could get lucky and something related may show up immediately, but for anything complex, that is often not the case.

Read more to find out how blending Google Patents in to the early stages of our search can save us time and help narrow our results.

Continue reading

Database Update Round-up – GBD, SciFinder, and Google Patents

Within the past month, we’ve looked at updates to major patent and non-patent literature databases, including big changes to TotalPatent in March and lots of new coverage and search options on STN (all described in the full update to the STN System Report).  Patent, trademark, and non-patent literature databases are all being updated continuously with new search features and coverage, so let’s take a quick look at a potpourri of  database update announcements.

After the jump, learn about the latest updates to the Global Brand Database, SciFinder, and Google Patents!

Continue reading

Classic Christmas Ornament Patents

A Christmas tree decorated with traditional holiday patents.

This Christmas tree is decorated with patents for classic holiday ornaments from 1888-1941 (found on Google Patents). Select the image above to view a larger version of the tree, or continue reading to see the traditional ornament patents!

Continue reading

Follow

Get every new post delivered to your Inbox.

Join 758 other followers