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Big Changes for Searching Technical Disclosures: The New IP.com

The IP.com portal is an important source of both patent and non-patent prior art, and it can be especially useful for locating technical disclosures.  The Prior Art Database on IP.com includes a regularly updated journal of technical disclosures, as well as corporate and institutional back files of non-patent prior art documents (such as the IBM Technical Disclosure Bulletin). The Intellectual Property Library on IP.com covers INPADOC data and full-text patent documents from US, EP, WO, AU, CA, and CN. The site is free to search and view the bibliographic data and abstracts for patent (US patent documents only for non-registered users) and non-patent literature search results, but users must purchase vouchers to view the full text or PDF versions of Prior Art Database documents. In 2011, the IP.com portal underwent some major changes when it integrated nearly all the features of the of the Prior Art Database into the Intellectual Property Library. The IP.com portal has recently undergone another major overhaul in November 2012, with a new layout for the website and a consolidation of search forms for both the patent and non-patent literature collections.

Continue reading for a quick guide to the recent changes on the IP.com portal!

New Website Layout

The IP.com portal has undergone an extensive redesign, with a new layout that consists of the following main sections, all accessible from the horizontal toolbar on each page of the website:

  • Home – The homepage gives brief descriptions and allows users to access the four main sections of the website: Search, Publish, Research, and Solutions.
  • About – Read an overview of the products and services available through the IP.com portal, including InnovationQ, the Semantic Gist search engine, the The Prior Art Database, and the The IP.com Journal. This section also describes clients and affiliates of IP.com, an overview of the TextWise Semantic Gist search tool, various legal information (privacy policy and intellectual property owned by IP.com), and contact information for the company.
  • Search – Users can search through the Semantic Gist tool (similar to the previous Concept Search Form) to access Prior Art Database material, patents and patent applications, and other non-patent literature. The Gist index includes English-language documents only, so the user is directed to search through the Prior Art Express search to locate non-English documents from the Prior Art Database. The Search section of the portal also gives an overview of the Intellectual Property Library and describes the collections and coverage accessible through IP.com:
    • Prior Art Database – The IP.com journal, IBM Redbooks, Internet Society Requests for Comment, IBM Technical Disclosure Bulletin, Other Legacy Disclosure Journal, Software Patent Institute.
    • Other Non-Patent LiteraturePUBMED Central.
    • Patent Publications from Authorities – US, EP, WO, AU, CA, CN.
    • DOCDB – Patent publications from DOCDB, DOCDB patent family presentation, DOCDB related rules and decisions.
    • Users may also browse the IPC hierarchy.
  • Publish – Users may create an account and purchase vouchers to publish their technical disclosures. This section includes a publishing demonstration, prices and instructions for purchasing vouchers, and descriptions of offensive publishing, defensive publishing, a description of the Prior Art Database, and downloadable guides on defensive publishing and writing technical disclosures. Users who are logged in may also view and edit their account summary and settings through this section.
  • Research & Analytics – Descriptions of the search and specialty services available through IP.com.
  • InnovationQ – Information on IQU for Universities and Research Institutions ( Software-as-a-Service (SaaS) subscription model) and IQC For Corporations. IQU is currently in alpha release, with beta release during the first quarter of 2013. The IQU service allows an institution to make their confidential data searchable using the Semantic Gist search engine, within a secure environment. The IQC product for corporations will be released in 2013.

Users can log in, log out, create an account, view details about their account, or view contact information for IP.com using a small menu in the upper right corner of the screen for each page of the site.

The new layout of the IP.com homepage.

The new layout of the IP.com homepage.

New Search Forms

As described above, the two main search options for this new design of the portal seem to be:

  • Semantic Gist Search – This form is accessible under the main “Search” section of the horizontal navigation menu and will search through all English-language documents for the Prior Art Database, US patents and applications (for users without an account), all patent documents available for US, EP, WO, AU, CA, and CN (for users logged in in to an account), and other non-patent literature (PubMed Central). The search form uses semantic search technology powered by TextWise, and users may enter a concept query, paragraph or more of text, a few keywords, or a publication number as a single term within the search form.
The Semantic Gist search form.

The Semantic Gist search form.

  • Prior Art Express – This search form is accessible at the Priorartdatabase.com URL, and the form searches non-patent, defensive publications stored in the IP.com Prior Art Database (including non-English publications). The form accepts field searching, Boolean operators, proximity operators, truncation operators and wildcards, parentheses, quotation marks (for phrase searches), and variable term weighting. See this guide for a full list of available fields and operators. Users can also choose to browse a list of  published disclosures, listed below the search form, which links to a section containing all published disclosures organized by date.
The Prion Art Express search form, which accepts Boolean, proximity, and truncation operators, parentheses, and field qualifiers, and a link to browse all published disclosures.

The Prion Art Express search form, which accepts Boolean, proximity, and truncation operators, parentheses, and field qualifiers, and a link to browse all published disclosures.


IP.com portal has come a long way in consolidating the content of its website.  The layout of the portal is intuitive and gives concise information about the access, price, coverage, and features of each product or service offered by IP.com.  The Search section of the portal allows users to simultaneously search both the Prior Art Database and IP Library collections  through a powerful semantic search form.  The main downside to the Semantic Gist search form is that it only indexes English-language documents, so users must search with the Prior Art Express search form to locate non-English documents from the Prior Art Database.  The Prior Art Express search form is not linked to directly on the Semantic Gist page of the portal, so the user must dig around to locate the link to the Priorartdatabase.com web page which hosts the Prior Art Express search form.  The Prior Art Express search form allows more complex queries than the Semantic Gist search form, since users can enter traditional query syntax (Boolean operators, parentheses, wildcards, etc.) and field qualifiers within the Prior Art Express search form. It would be useful if IP.com gave users a clear link to the Prior Art Express search form directly from the Semantic Gist page, but overall, the IP.com portal is much easier to navigate due to the simplified layout and consolidation of search forms.

What do you think of the changes to the IP.com portal?  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.


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