Why It’s Time to Change Your Patent Search System

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Chains of habit are too light to be felt until they are too heavy to be broken. Warren Buffet

Is your chosen patent search system meeting your needs? Could it be that it’s not meeting needs you don’t know exist? There are so many options out there when it comes to patent search systems it can be hard to decide which one is the right fit for you. Over at Intellogist®, we aim to solve this problem in a number of ways, from in-depth Intellogist Reports on leading search systems, to a Patent Search System Comparison tool designed to match up systems feature for feature, to providing Intellogist Consulting Services to help you make your unique system purchasing decision.

Today we’ll go over a few situations in which it might behoove you to recognize the chains of your patent searching habit, until they’re too heavy to be broken. Is your system outdated, too expensive, or coming up empty on the documents you need? Find out below!


It’s time to change your patent search system if…

…your system has stopped receiving updates. Systems such as Micropatent PatentWeb and Delphion are examples of legacy systems that are no longer receiving feature updates (although they are supported with patent coverage updates). Several of these legacy systems exist because of industry mergers and acquisitions, or because another search system has been developed as a flagship (such as Thomson Innovation, with regards to Micropat and Delphion).

While it’s fine to be comfortable sticking to a system you know how to use, you can miss out on a lot in the information retrieval field by clinging to outdated technology. Newer systems have more ways to create search strings, sort results, view results, and manage your workflow. Learning the new technology will pay off, if you’re willing to bite the bullet and change your search system.

…your system isn’t built for you. Competition in the patent search system field is very strong right now, with many options at every level of the spectrum. Are you the head of a search department which needs dozens of user seats or are you an independent searcher who’s doing searches on the side? These two situations illustrate the differing needs of patent search system users. The head of the big search department should be looking for systems that offer group discounts (ask your vendor rep!), include advanced account management, and serve the diverse needs of many different subject matter experts.

The independent searcher can more easily seek out a system that tailors to their searching style. They could more easily consider moving away from a command line, pay per-record-view style system and start supplementing their searching with systems that feature patent drawings, such as esp@cenet and Google Patents (it’s also nice that these search systems are free). It’s always good to step back and examine which features on that expensive system you’re actually using. What are you paying for?

…your system doesn’t have the coverage you need. Not having access to prior art documents when you need them is a frustrating experience. You might think that the information you need is out there, but you can’t be sure if you don’t have a patent search system that has coverage in that key area.

If you’re wondering whether you should ditch your current patent search system in favor of a new one, our Patent Coverage Map is a good place to discover which system might be a good replacement. Do you have clients looking for protection in Italy? Look up the Italian coverage and you’ll find that TotalPatent has full text coverage that might prove invaluable. There are times when abstract/bibliographic coverage is enough, but it’s worth it to evaluate your current patent search system, know what your options are, and figure out whether it’s time to change.

Have you been sticking with the same patent search system for years? Have you changed recently (or are thinking about it)? We’d love to hear about your decision making and reasoning in the comments below!

Patent Analysis from Landon IP

This post was contributed 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.

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