Gear Grinder #2: Complaints in the Patent World

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Introductory Note: Welcome back to “Gear Grinder with Danny Rooney,” our newest blog series. We aim to bring this series to you on the first and third Thursdays of the month. Click here for the first installment. This post is based on a fictitious character, and readers should be aware of the underlying snark and sarcasm. Just think of it as a way to have fun and let loose with some frustrations with life as a patent professional. We know you can relate!

Greetings! After my fifth-cousin’s wonder strike on the weekend, you’d think everything has been coming up Rooney. But no, here at the Gear Grinder, we’re shifting into 5th going only 20 miles per hour (or 32 km/h for you metric junkies). This week I’ll be talking about my frustrations using Google Patents. Just because this system is good (and free to boot), doesn’t mean I don’t have a bone to pick! Read on and find out how Google could improve their enigmatic search system.


I was recently using Google Patents for some preliminary free searching. Google Patents is usually great in the beginning of a search for finding one or two good pieces of prior art, and then using a more robust search engine to dig deep into your subject content. However, after using the system to find something quite specific, I realized that Google Patents is like marriage after 20 years: both parties stop trying to stay attractive and what you see is pretty much what you get. Unfortunately, that lack of innovation is counter to what Google stands for. Sure they entered into a fancy agreement with the USPTO to provide bulk data, but that doesn’t do me any good when its three o’clock in the morning and I can’t find a hot dog cooker shaped like an actual dog, preferably with sunglasses.

Call me high maintenance, but I need more proximity operators. I need some wildcards. I could even use some coverage outside the US; maybe a little EP sprinkled with some WO, with some JP tossed in to really get the flavor going. I’m no programmer, but I’m pretty sure minions at the Googleplex could take a break from their free haircuts, and spend 7 days programming the site to add a few new features. Maybe even break the site out of Beta like it has been the last few years (i.e. cough…no one has done anything on it in a while…cough). I know that precious time is better spent on such juggernauts as Google Wave, Google Answers, and Jaiku, but Google Patents is a consistently used site for an admittedly-niche target that just happens to be in an industry linked to economic growth.

Google, as a supposed innovator, needs to update Google Patents with a sense of urgency in order to stop the awkwardness that is Mark Zuckerberg from launching Facebook Patents, a new patent search engine where the validity of patents will eventually become legally binding based solely upon the number of LIKES a patent gets. (Not to mention pictures of inventors fawning over their patents replacing the pictures of newborns posted by today’s online frenzied moms and dads.) Not only will the quality of searching improve, but Google can maintain its status as an innovator, at least in my cranky old mind.

Up next week: Danny watches Back to the Future, and wonders if people still dance the Jigawatt.

Patent Analysis from Landon IP

This post was contributed by Intellogist Team members Dan Wolka with help from 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.

18 Responses

  1. hmm. i’m sending my resume to google.

  2. Facebook patents – brilliant idea. I found today that the Patent Cooperation Treaty has its own Facebook page, but only one person “Likes” it… :(

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