The Evolution of Free Chemical Patent Searching: The New SureChemOpen

[tweetmeme source=”Intellogist” only_single=false] Since SureChem was purchased by Macmillan Publishers Ltd. in 2009, it has undergone a variety of changes that are chronicled in the Major Recent Updates section of the SureChem System Report on Intellogist. In April 2012, the SureChem website announced SureChemOpen, a free chemistry search product that was being launched prior to the release of two subscription search products (SureChemPro and SureChemDirect).  The SureChem website offers a comparison of all three products, and these features are listed for SureChemOpen:

  • $0 per month
  • Free patent chemistry search
  • Search and view patent chemistry and full text
  • Search SureChem patents alongside Royal Society of Chemistry journals and ChemSpider
  • No data export

Read on to learn more about the new SureChemOpen product, including the coverage, chemical patent search and viewing options, and how you can register to use the portal for free!


A side menu on SureChemOpen allows users to limit their searches by patenting authorities (all (including DocDB), US applications, US granted, EP application, EP granted, or WO) and by publication date range. The homepage of SureChemOpen states that “Chemistry annotations from the full text of US, EP and WO documents are currently available from January 2012 to present. We are currently processing the backfile.”

Search Options

Users can search through a variety of forms on SureChemOpen, including:

  • The SureQuery field – Enter a simple freestyle text search or a more complex Lucene Query search, using the Lucene syntax. This field can therefore also double as a command-line interface.
  • Fielded Search – Enter keywords in a search form (Boolean operators, wildcards, and truncation operators are accepted) and limit the keyword search to specific document sections (all, title, abstract, claims, descriptions). Users can also select specific bibliographic fields from drop-down menus, enter keywords in adjacent search forms, and combine these search forms with Boolean operators.

The fielded search option.

  • Structure Search – Users can draw a structure using ChemWriter, a browser-independent drawing tool from Metamolecular, LLC. Users can also copy a SMILES, MOL file, or chemical name. After inputting the structure, users can choose to conduct a substructure, duplicate, exact, or similarity search. The ability to search for structures within document sections is a function that is coming soon to the portal.

The structure drawing tool on SureChemOpen.

For more information on how to search through SureChemOpen, see the SureChemOpen Users Guide.

Viewing Features

SureChemOpen search results display as either a structure matrix/table (if your search included any type of structure search) or as a list of patent documents (up to 100 documents).

Results for a structure search on SureChemOpen.

If the user conducts a structure search, they can select any or all structure results via check box to search for patent documents containing at least one of those structures (by selecting relevant structures and choosing the action “get documents for selected structures”).

Patent documents containing at least one selected structure result.

When viewing details about a structure (by selecting the “+” under the structure diagram), SureChemOpen provides links to external partners, including the Royal Society for Chemistry and ChemSpider.

Details for a structure record, including links to the Royal Society of Chemistry (RSC) and ChemSpider (CS).

When viewing the full text of patent results, users can skip to different sections of the document, including the front page, claims, and descriptions. Users may also skip to highlighted search keywords/instances of the selected structure within the patent document.

The selected chemical structure highlighted in the text of the patent document.

For more information on viewing results on SureChemOpen, see this document.

Accessing SureChemOpen

Although SureChemOpen currently has very limited chemistry annotation coverage (since January 2012) of US, EP, and WO patent documents, it is processing its backfile and will eventually be a valuable source for searching chemical data within patent documents.  Best of all, SureChemOpen is a free product that users can easily access by registering for a basic account on the website.  The subscription versions of SureChem will have additional features, like access to the complete SureChem database and text export options, that will be more useful for professional patent searchers.  Due to the very limited coverage of SureChemOpen, professional prior art searchers will also use a variety of other chemical patent search tools when conducting a chemical prior art search, such as MMS and MARPAT for Markush searching.

What are your thoughts on the new SureChemOpen product and upcoming subscription-based options SureChemPro and SureChemDirect? Let us know in the comments!

Patent Searches from Landon IP

This post was contributed by Joelle Mornini. The Intellogist blog is provided for free by Intellogist’s parent company Landon IP, a major provider of patent searches, trademark searches, technical translations, and information retrieval services.


3 Responses

  1. Very cool product. One further thing to add. While I was impressed with SureChem Open, one thing I did notice about it is that it doesn’t have left-truncation, which is valuable when searching chemical names. I hope they’ll consider adding it soon.

  2. Great info. This looks like a powerful resource. Is this still current? I cam across this while doing research for a client. He is currently working on a new patent in this area.

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