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Our online community for discussing challenges in patent and prior art search, Intellogist, has now been around for a few years. Recently somebody asked me a tricky question regarding patent families, and I soon found myself digging through my personal files. Some of the older stuff I turned up sent me down memory lane, and I figured the blog would be the perfect place to reminisce.
The days when I was first putting Intellogist content together didn’t feel very productive. Mostly they were spent reading and cross referencing the existing literature on patent information sources – of which there was, or so it seemed to me, surprisingly little. This industry is so important, yet its practices are so lightly documented. It might astonish you to know that before I put together the information in the earliest Intellogist glossary articles and reports, I had to perform literally months of research. I was actually quite hard on myself about it, really, because I was sure a perfectly drawn, crystal clear, up-to-date article on the history of patent families and other patent information developments had to be floating out there on the internet, ready for anyone to read.
If that document exists, I haven’t found it yet (so please forward it to me at your earliest opportunity). In this post I’ll share what resources worked for me, and I’ll give some perspective on what it means to be just starting out in this industry.