Big Changes for Searching Technical Disclosures: The New IP.com

The IP.com portal is an important source of both patent and non-patent prior art, and it can be especially useful for locating technical disclosures.  The Prior Art Database on IP.com includes a regularly updated journal of technical disclosures, as well as corporate and institutional back files of non-patent prior art documents (such as the IBM Technical Disclosure Bulletin). The Intellectual Property Library on IP.com covers INPADOC data and full-text patent documents from US, EP, WO, AU, CA, and CN. The site is free to search and view the bibliographic data and abstracts for patent (US patent documents only for non-registered users) and non-patent literature search results, but users must purchase vouchers to view the full text or PDF versions of Prior Art Database documents. In 2011, the IP.com portal underwent some major changes when it integrated nearly all the features of the of the Prior Art Database into the Intellectual Property Library. The IP.com portal has recently undergone another major overhaul in November 2012, with a new layout for the website and a consolidation of search forms for both the patent and non-patent literature collections.

Continue reading for a quick guide to the recent changes on the IP.com portal!
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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.

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Is it possible to have too much patent information?

The products we rely on for patent and prior art searching are adding more and more data every day. Whether it’s expanded country coverage in a system like PatBase (check out our newly updated Intellogist Report!) or the burgeoning journal and non-patent literature collections of Compendex and Inspec—you can’t deny that the sheer amount of information available in digital and searchable form is exploding.

Let me stop right here and give away the ending. It’s NOT possible to have too much patent information…IF you know how to use it correctly.

That’s an important distinction in the technology age. As more and more patent documents, journal articles, and other academic studies become searchable, you need to consider how you’re going to parse, dissect, and organize that information. Before you even start searching, you should also consider your goals. Do you want to find every single possible relevant piece of prior art or just the one perfect reference closest to the bullseye? Different types of searches are suited for different goals, and it’s best to talk these goals over with patent search professionals (such as those at Landon IP).

Read on for some tips and tricks to help pare down your information overload after the jump!

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