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Update: This post has been edited to reflect that PatBase is jointly operated by Minesoft and RWS Group.
Not the same as the old PatBase, to reverse The Who lyric. Minesoft and RWS Group’s PatBase product has a new preview release that incorporates several new features such as a redesigned user interface, highlighting system, multi-window support and much more.
It’s always exciting to see new developments in products (or see new products, like CPA Global Discover) in the patent search field because it tells me that companies are listening to customers and striving to improve the tools that searchers use every day to make their livelihood. It also tells me that the industry is healthy and competitive, creating a rising tide that lifts all boats in this profession. Coverage continues to broaden and increase in depth across the board and PatBase is no exception. PatBase developers are continuing an ongoing process to include more non-latin full text data such as updating its Korean data to reach back to 2002. Non-latin search is now also possible for certain Thai documents.
The preview of the enhanced PatBase should be active for all users shortly at their preview web address. This is set to go final and live for all users by the end of the year. Read on for our impressions of a few more of the key features!
The first thing that you might notice is the new user interface and design scheme. A prominent part of the new interface is a redesigned home (or landing) page that users see upon logging in. At this point users can directly access help and tutorial features (including training videos or signing up for a live webinar) or access their saved searches, histories, folders, alerts and more. The fresh look permeates the interface and features more clearly defined links and interaction items. Some may prefer this look and others may wish for the more minimal presentation of the old PatBase interface, but PatBase developers have made this design with speed and access of information in mind. My early impressions of the interface is that there have been some trade-offs made between maximizing space for content and patent text (as was stressed in the old interface with less space used for UI at the top and bottom and what seemed like smaller text) for the purpose of providing more options at the users’ fingertips, so to speak. Individual users will have to see if this change suits them, and again this is only a preview of the updated system.
One very welcome change for patent searching nerds like myself is the improvement of advanced highlighting. PatBase offers five colors of highlighting and a hit analysis mode that shows the frequency of each of the five colors of keywords for all of the family records currently examined in full-text viewing mode. This hit analysis section has been refined to include a quick look table so that the user can see which family member may be most relevant without having to scroll through all of the members and make notes to his or herself. Another welcome change to advanced highlighting is the inclusion of proximity operators. Users can now precisely see where two terms of interest are in proximity to each other rather than relying on the accompanying highlighting map and inferring that two terms are nearby. This is especially helpful in extremely large patent documents. In the past there could have been green and yellow highlighting indicators on the same line of the highlighting map; upon further review the two terms were paragraphs away.
One final feature I’ll touch on today (and there are quite a few more) is the “Optimise” tool–yes, that’s the spelling from our British friends, uncoloured by the need to use the American analogue. The Optimise tool is a faceted search (or filtered search) feature accessible directly from the search history/hit result page. Similar to the Search Optimiser function of previous versions of PatBase Express, this feature allows users to quickly use statistical analysis to “drill down” into search results in the categories of top companies, technologies, dates, and countries. This is a feature gaining popularity across the patent search world since they allow users to edit their queries in a more “on the fly” manner.
Well, that’s all I have on the new PatBase enhancements for now. We’ll undoubtedly be back with more commentary on enhancements after we’ve had more time with the system and after it’s in a final state. Enjoy the preview build if you are a PatBase subscriber and let us know your feelings in the comments. Do you like the new changes? Is PatBase moving in an encouraging direction based on your needs?
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.