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There are several patent tools that exist outside of the usual search system sphere. One helpful (and ubiquitous) subcategory is that of toolbars. Toolbars are familiar to anyone who’s tried to install a few pieces of software on their home computer. It seems like everyone from Yahoo to AVG to the latest jewel matching game company has a toolbar that prophesizes better searching ability, reduction of pop-ups, or handy bookmarks. There are a couple of search toolbars that can specifically help you during your patent search. One that we’ve covered is the Google Toolbar, useful for adding additional highlighting to your results.
When conducting a patent search I’m always trying to find the tools that serve as the missing puzzle pieces. The patent search system I use doesn’t always fulfill my patent downloading needs so I hop around from one site or tool to another trying to find a good compliment to my main working environment. The Google Toolbar is an example of a solution I tried in order to increase my highlighting ability (since I’m that kind of nerd who needs 10 different colors of highlighter available). The Google Toolbar didn’t work out for me because I didn’t like the clutter on my web browser, but that’s not to say it wouldn’t work for some searchers.
Today we’ll talk about the ipestonia Toolbar, a toolbar dedicated solely to patent searching. With several features including bookmarks to patent resources and RSS feeds for patent related news and tweets, there’s a lot to cover, so read on!
The ipestonia Toolbar was created by Mikk Putk, who also runs the ipestonia Ning social networking space for patent professionals. Mikk has also created an exhaustive resource detailing the contents of the ipestonia Toolbar, which lists all the numerous places to which the toolbar links. Here’s what the toolbar looks like (in abbreviated form, since what the toolbar actually looks like depends on the width of your browser and this image is constrained by the dimensions of this page).
Similar to the Google Toolbar, the ipestonia Toolbar allows highlighting in five different colors. This highlighting feature is very helpful to find keywords in a patent document of interest, or for the purpose of adding colors to the highlighting your patent search system already offers. Speaking from experience, I can never get enough highlighting, so this feature is definitely of interest to me.
One issue with the toolbar (which is based on the underlying software and not the fault of ipestonia specifically), is that it automatically inserts selected text into the search bar. This can be a quick method of searching for text already on your screen, but it also makes it hard to accomplish tasks on certain websites such as WordPress, wherein selecting text serves a function within the editing environment. I should note that this problem happened to me on one occasion and then did not on my attempt to duplicate it. Additionally, the ability to permanently highlight items on a page has no countermeasure for undoing the highlighting and this feature brought my Firefox browsing session to a halt culminating in a crash. Users may see slight decreases in browser performance with the processing power used by the toolbar.
The rest of the features in the ipestonia Toolbar are part convenience, part resource database–these features are a great primer on the larger IP world on the web. On the convenience side of things, the search bar allows users to enter text and directly conduct keyword searches in many free patent search systems such as esp@cenet, Google Patent Search, Google Scholar, WIPO Patentscope, and quite a few more. The linked resources (like RSS feeds) number into the low hundreds including resource databases (such as Intellogist’s Resource Finder), IP blogs, and patent attorney and law information.
Since the ipestonia Toolbar is free to download and easy to uninstall, I recommend checking it out to see if it fits your needs as a highlighting tool, shortcut to search systems, or IP resource link repository. It may not be for everyone, but there’s little to risk to see if it helps your workflow.
Do you have any experience with the ipestonia Toolbar? How about any other patent searching related toolbars? Tell us about it in the comments!
This post was edited by Intellogist Team member Chris Jagalla. The Intellogist blog is provided for free by Intellogist’s parent company, Landon IP, a major provider of patent search, technical translation, and information services.