Many searchers wish that there was a simple patent searching tool that would spit out a series of neatly ranked, organized, and relevant results with the push of a single button. A veritable Golden Egg Laying Goose that could solve our invalidity searches with a few keystrokes so that we might have the rest of the morning to sip on Earl Grey and read patent blogs (no doubt, a blog that might inform us of Japanese Patent Data availability).
Unfortunately, no such tool exists. Despite the patent search industry striving to make searching simpler and more useful with less input and time investment, we’re not quite at a date when patent searchers can be replaced by robots—unlike that Kids in The Hall sketch wherein workers are replaced by robots in the satirical “arms-in-the-fish-vat” industry.
However, a number of patents search systems prioritize making searching as intuitive and simple as possible, including: IPInquest from IPCentury (formerly DECOPA/DECOPAnet), TotalPatent’s Semantic Search and PatentSurf. Meanwhile, Google Patents and Xyggy Patent provide new and simple interface designs. Xyggy further asserts an underlying “item search” technology that is briefly detailed at the Xyggy homepage and promises to go beyond both traditional text based search.
Xyggy, in particular, has been of interest to me as of late and I have done some testing of its “item search” technology. Piqued by the discussion over at the PIUG Wiki, I attempted to integrate Xyggy into my daily patent search activities. The results, while not overwhelming, were encouraging. One of the touted features of Xyggy is that the search engine can use a granted US patent number, analyze the contents of the patent, and find similar patents. Comparing the Xyggy results based on the input of a granted US patent on which one of my colleagues did a search, I looked to find references that matched what were deemed “central” references at the conclusion of my colleague’s search. Xyggy only found 1 of the several patents cited in our report in the first 5 pages of results (first 55 hits), but found many patents in the general subject area of the originally searched patent. Such search results, by the hand of an experienced searcher, could then be analyzed and transformed into a series of secondary searches such as classification and citation searches in a more thorough search system that has such capabilities.
Xyggy is not without its issues, as Edlyn Simmons and Aleksandr Belinskiy point out in the previously referenced PIUG Wiki thread, including lacking the ability to specify and demand exact (or branching) matches when necessary such as in chemical searching. A further issue is the proprietary “black box” nature of Xyggy. “Item search” may be “a new search category that lies at the opposite end of the information retrieval spectrum from text-search” as Xyggy representative Dinesh Vadhia explains, but to know exactly what that means is hard to grasp without any of the system’s blueprints (which are understandably behind lock and key).
Xyggy may not be a Golden Egg Laying Goose, but since the search interface is quite nimble (drag-and-drop and search term toggling bring up new results sets in a couple of seconds) it seems worth the time of any patent searcher to at least give it a spin and see if it fits within their individual searching methods and style.
Have any readers given Xyggy a try? Do you have any other experiences with “non-traditional” patent search engines? We would love to hear about them in the comments below.
Read an update here.
This post was contributed by Intellogist team member Chris Jagalla.