The Problem with Patent Keyword Highlighting

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Highlighting is normally your friend, helping your brain sort through a jumble of words on a whitespace. Plenty of search engines (of any type) have it in some form, some providing more advanced features than others. When you are looking for a few key terms, highlighting can point you instantly to exactly what you are looking for. But what happens when you have a large project that requires grouping features into several different categories?

After ranting a bit about the world of sports, we address this important patent searching issue today!


Introductory Note: Welcome back to “Gear Grinder with Danny Rooney.” We aim to bring this series to you on the first and third Thursdays of the month. Here are our previous installments: #1, #2, #3, #4, and #5, #6 (about common patent application mistakes), and #7. 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!

Summer is upon us and so much is going on. Its getting to be bathing suit season, so I’ve been eating chicken quite a bit lately because I heard all of the Clenbuterol in it helps with weight loss and gets you ripped. The Dallas Mavericks won the NBA Finals, causing so much joy for billionaire owner Mark Cuban that he decided to do Germany a solid and repay Greece’s debts to them as a reward for being the home of Finals MVP Dirk Nowitzki. The Boston Bruins won the Stanley Cup for the first time in 39 years, leading to the inevitable movie script starring Ben Affleck as a Boston criminal who vowed to give up crime once the Bruins won the Cup, and is now faced with indecision about what to do with his life after crime (Matt Damon may or may not be involved). Even my fifth cousin Wayne decided spending was the best way to drown his Champions League sorrows, getting a fancy set of hair plugs. But there is something that grinds my gears even more than monsoon-like rain followed by sweltering heat or two comical misses by US men’s national team players. Enough sports ranting…back to the patent highlighting issue!

The Problem with Patent Keyword Highlighting
As I was saying, patent highlighting runs into some troubles when you have a large project that requires grouping features into several different categories. What if those categories include terminology that have plenty of synonyms (the word “heat” is a good example)? If you are searching through large families, the numerous number of terms used can significantly slow down the load time of the full text for a given document. In some cases, the full text might not load at all due to the page timing out. When you have to view hundreds, or even thousands, of documents quickly in order to categorize them, slow load times can add significant idle time to the project. In most instances if you clarify the most important terms, you can remove unnecessary terms from your highlighting scheme and improve the load times. Removing any additional allowed operators from your scheme can also improve processing time. However, in this time of fast internet connections and even faster computers, it seems silly that massive highlighting schemes cannot be used on large families to reasonable effect. And that’s what grinds my gears.

Next time: Danny’s discusses his annual eye exam, which leads to the discovery of a rare form of color blindness where all colors appear to be blood red.

Patent Information from Landon IP

This post was contributed by Registered Patent Agent Dan Wolka. 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.

9 Responses

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