PatBase Express USA and US focused patent search systems

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Sometimes less is more. At least that’s the theory behind PatBase Express USA (scroll to the middle of the page for more info). PatBase Express USA is a specific mask users can apply to the PatBase Express interface in order to restrict the patent data set to US patent documents only. Since PatBase Express is an interface mask for PatBase, it’s hard not to have flashbacks to last weekend when you watched Inception, but trust me, PatBase Express USA is not a dream within a dream.

Several other patent systems offer only US patent data (see: the USPTO website and Google Patents) while all others that contain US patent data allow users to restrict searching to exactly that data set via command language or interface selections. It makes sense that users only interested in US results can restrict the amount of data being searched in order to speed up the search and avoid wasting time looking through irrelevant results–to a point.

Depending on the family structure of the search system, it’s possible that limiting the system to US data only may cause non-US documents of interest to fall through the cracks during a patent search. Now, why would this matter if a client was only interested in US prior art? The non-US document of interest that may have been found using a more expansive data set could have identified an assignee, inventor, or even a related US patent document because of a unique combination of keywords not present in the available US patent document. In general, a more expansive search is always preferred, which in this case means casting a larger net over non-US documents even if the final selected prior art must be a US patent.

This being said, USA specific interfaces such as PatBase Express USA may be of interest to users who enjoy the aspects and advantages of a particular system and favor a streamlined approach. In the end, a patent search system may only be as good as the user is at putting it to work…so whatever floats your boat!

Do you use USA restricted patent searching interfaces? What do you think about them?

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Technical Translations from Landon IP

This post was contributed by Intellogist Team member Chris Jagalla.

One Response

  1. Chris, since I happened to be out when you wrote this post I’ll leave a comment to let you know what I think. I completely agree with your description of how searching in the non-US art is important even when you’re only interested in US results.

    It took me a long time to wrap my brain around the advantages and disadvantages of PatBase’s database structure (all the documents are organized into INPADOC families – and each family represents 1 search hit). I still remember trying to come to grips with the idea when we were writing this section of the PatBase report:

    When I was first exposed to PatBase I was not used to dealing with a family database. I remember that I didn’t have much experience with the DWPI at that point, so I was mainly searching in country-specific collections. It was quite an eye-opener because it was just such a different searching experience. I’m sure I would have had the same reaction to Questel’s as well, had it existed at that time.

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