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!

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How Major Patent Search Systems will Implement the CPC

The full roll out of the Cooperative Patent Classification (CPC) is less than a month away, and the classification search options for US and EP patent publications will soon change drastically for prior art searchers.  After January 1, 2013, the CPC will completely replace ECLA, and all US published applications will carry CPC classifications.  The EPO and USPTO released a “CPC launch package” back in October which contained the complete CPC scheme, any finalized CPC definitions, and an ECLA-to-CPC-to-IPC concordance. The USPTO and EPO have been thoroughly preparing for the transition to the CPC, but how are the distributors of major patent search systems preparing for the implementation of the CPC?  From the Major Recent Updates sections of the Intellogist Reports, I’ve compiled a quick guide on how Espacenet, Orbit.com, TotalPatent, Thomson Innovation, PatBase, and Dialog will make the CPC searchable within each of their systems.

Continue reading to learn how each of these major patent search platforms will handle the new Cooperative Patent Classification!
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New Orbit.com Portal Announced with a Streamlined Interface for Faster Patent Searching

Earlier in November, a new Intellogist Report was released on the major Orbit.com patent search system.  The Orbit.com platform, created by Questel-Orbit, allows users to access the unique FamPat family records and additional indexing, but the wide variety of search and viewing options available through the portal can occasionally cause the interface to have a cluttered appearance. In October 2012, Questel announced the upcoming release of a new version of the Orbit.com portal that can be tested by users in a beta format. The new portal will notably include a number of interface cleanup features to make the user’s patent search and viewing experiences more streamlined and intuitive. Although the beta portal is accessible through a link on the Orbit.com homepage, many of the new features do not yet appear to be available.

Continue reading to view a full list of updated features and screenshots from a presentation on the new Orbit.com portal, including a new toolbar in the Xpert and Workfiles modules, enhancements to highlighting and search functions, and interface cleanup tools!

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New Intellogist Report on Orbit.com!

We’ve just released an Intellogist Report on an important patent search system, Orbit.com!  Check out the new Intellogist Report to learn all the coverage details about this major player in the patent search system field:

Search for industrial designs on the DesignFinder module of the Orbit platform.

  • Learn about the unique FamPat file hosted on the Orbit.com platform, which organizes records into invention-based FamPat families and includes additional indexing through Key Content (Object of the invention, Advantages of the new invention and Drawback of prior art, and Independent claims) and Key Concepts.

Continue reading for an overview of more content from the Orbit.com Intellogist Report, plus a quick snippet from the report which outlines some of the strengths and weaknesses of this major patent search tool!

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Expand Your Patent Search Query Through Multilingual Translation Tools

During an initial scope of the available prior art, it can be useful for a patent searcher to expand their query through machine-translation tools to include query terms translated into multiple major languages.  Even if the searcher isn’t fluent in multiple languages, they will still be able to get a general idea of how much prior art is available internationally on a particular technology. When conducting a global prior art search, there’s no replacement for a search conducted by one or more native-language speakers through the patent and non-patent literature in multiple major languages.  Although the following query expansion tools shouldn’t be used as substitutes for a thorough search by multilingual professional searchers, these tools will still be helpful for scoping the availability of international prior art.

The CLIR (Cross-Lingual Information Retrieval) on PATENTSCOPE is the best free option for cross-lingual query expansion, and we’ve briefly looked at this tool in a past Valentine’s Day post.  If users have access to PatBase, they can utilize the new Language Explorer tool (added to the system in March 2012) to expand their query.   The Language Explorer tool is powered by CLIR, so users will get similar query expansion suggestions through both CLIR and Language Explorer.  If users subscribe to Questel’s Orbit.com platform, they can utilize the Multilingual Search Wizard to expand their search with terms in German, French, and English.

After the jump, we’ll take a closer look at each of the multilingual query expansion tools on PATENTSCOPE, PatBase, and Orbit.com!

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New Patent Analysis Tools Coming to Orbit.com

In a previous post, I listed the new features for Questel’s Orbit.com platform, which were released on April 8, 2012 for Orbit version 1.5.  New tools include legal status searching and filter, a search wizard to search in multiple languages and identify relevant concepts, multiple detachable windows, a “More Like This” option, a “My Lists” tab, new import options, and Workfile updates.  At the Patent Information User Group (PIUG) 2012 Annual Conference, Kristin Whitman attended a workshop hosted by Questel that described further updates coming to the Orbit.com platform.  The most interesting new feature described at the workshop is an IP Business Intelligence Module for the Orbit.com system, which will include patent mapping and analysis tools to be used on selected patent family data sets.  According to a Questel representative, this  statistical analysis module will be released in a beta-test version in June 2012, and a full release of the module will most likely occur in September 2012.

Read on as we explore the patent analysis tools that will be available on the new IP Business Intelligence Module for Orbit.com!
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More Patent Summarization Tools: Key Content and Concepts from Questel

What is the best way to summarize a patent document?  In a past blog post, we looked at both free online summarization tools and a summary tool available on PatBase.  The free online tools failed to adequately summarize a patent, since these tools condense the text based on number of sentences, and patent claims often include lengthy, complex run-on sentences.  The PatBase ”Summarise” tool produced much more concise summaries based on the percentage of text, but the tool wasn’t transparent about the extraction methods it used to produce the summaries.  We concluded in the last post that patent professionals will probably find the best patent summaries from human-produced Derwent Abstracts from the Derwent World Patent Index.

However, there are even more patent summary options available for users who have access to the FamPat database on the QPAT or Orbit.com platforms created by Questel: Key Content and ConceptsKey Content organizes the most important content from the patent document into three main fields (Object of the Invention, Advantages and Drawbacks of the prior art, and Independent Claims), and the Concepts section includes important keywords and themes that has been semantically extracted from the text. Continue reading to learn about the patent summary options available on FamPat!
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Intellogist Round-up: Orbit.com Updates, New USGENE BLAST Search Portal, and Advertising on Intellogist!

Our last two Intellogist round-ups highlighted some important updates on patent search systems and big changes on the Intellogist wiki, and today’s round-up won’t disappoint you! First up, the Orbit.com patent and design search portal from Questel is releasing a new update, and we have the details of that update summed up on the Intellogist wiki.  Next, we’ll look at the new search portal for USGENE, a database that allows users to search all available peptide and nucleotide sequences from the published applications and issued patents of the USPTO.  Learn how you can sign up for a free 30-day trial of this search portal.  Finally, we’ll look at how you can advertise your patent or trademark search products through Intellogist and reach an entire community of intellectual property professionals.

After the jump, learn about the Orbit.com update, the USGENE BLAST Search Portal, and advertising opportunities on Intellogist!
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Are you catching reassigned US patents in your search?

Update: This post has been edited to reflect that PatBase is jointly operated by Minesoft and RWS Group.

Experienced patent searchers know that searching for patent databases by company name is hard – and I mean really hard.  A company which owns a patent is called the patent “assignee” in the US.  Take a look at our assignee best practices wiki article over on the main Intellogist site to get an overview of some of the obstacles that can trip you up during this kind of search.

One thing that makes patent owner searching so difficult is simply that patents change hands, and when they do, the information published on the patent face is no longer correct.   Another difficulty is that these types of transactions are not always on record at the USPTO.  However, the USPTO does keep a US patent assignment database of all the transactions that they *have* been notified about.   And fortunately, patent search vendors can update their electronic databases with the new assignment information.  (by the way, as far as I know, US reassignment data is the only reassignment data that gets collected and added into commercial patent search products on a regular basis.)

Here is a quick summary of what some major commercial providers do with US reassignment data:

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Are your patent PDFs working for you?

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Here at Intellogist we tend to focus on strategies to find patents and prior art of interest, but working with individual patent documents can also be challenging.   Recently I started looking into which patent search providers offer searchable PDF patent documents as downloads.  PDF is one of the most common file formats for vendors to use when providing patent document images, and many legal researchers would like these files to arrive in a form that is already keyword searchable in Adobe.  There are programs (such as certain versions of Adobe Acrobat) that can run optical character recognition (OCR) on a document image, but it would save legal researchers even more time if the patent documents were to come pre-treated so that they are already keyword searchable.

After some quick research, I found that whether vendors provide searchable PDFs depends on the country collection you are interested in.  I assume that differences between country collections arise because each patent office has different standards for how patent documents are treated during the publication process.  However, a cursory field test revealed that there may be some differences between the PDFs from common patent search sources.

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