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   Basics in patent search..
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Xdim
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Basics in patent search..
« on: Jun 7th, 2006, 7:40am »
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I like the "foundation to a house" analogy to the importance of the initial strategic approach in patent application to its long term effectiveness as a legal document. I understand a "good search" may be the foundation of the foundation.
 
My question is - How to do a good search? - What are all the "stones need to be turned"?
 
I am new to this forum, so if my question(s) has been asked/discussed before please kindly point me to the link. Thanks.
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NV
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Re: Basics in patent search..
« Reply #1 on: Jun 7th, 2006, 9:50am »
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Xdim,  
 
More than calling it a 'good search', better way to put it, may be an 'exhaustive search'. Although there is no one tool for conductive an 'exhaustive search'.  
 
You need to streamline your search keeping in mind what exactly are you looking for in the search results.  
 
You may locate a list of keywords relevant to the disclosure and conduct a 'keyword search'.  This can be performed using a number of permutations and combinations of the keywords. Such a search may be connected to various sections of the specification for boiling down to relevant documents.
 
A 'classification search' may aslo be conducted by locating the relevant class in which the technology falls.  This would give a list of documents which may then be narrowed down.  
 
Regards,
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CriterionD
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Re: Basics in patent search..
« Reply #2 on: Jun 7th, 2006, 3:42pm »
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Well, exhaustive isn't always good, if you're not looking in the right place, it won't matter.  The more exhaustive a search the better, but a good searcher will certainly be more efficient than an amateur.    
 
Also, to note, it is certainly possible to combine classifications searching and keyword type searching.  Basic keyword searches can be almost useless at times, and I don't think it is ideal at all nowadays to depend solely on classifications.  A good, educated boolean search can turn up well qualified results and can help point you in the right direction fast.  The USPTO's search interface allows some fairly complex boolean searches (though they can slow down the server, however, at least as of the last time I tried).   Freepatentsonline.com, thats a site I haven't tried out but it seems to be user friendly and offers some search features that exceed the USPTO (and this site also allows you to search through patents using Google - just add 'site:freepatentsonline.com' to your search string).  Delphion meanwhile, if you are a paid subscriber, allows for the creation of some insanely complex boolean searches and allows you to do more with the search results - (I would highly doubt that the average Delphion user gets as much out of the site as they could if they put their mind to it).  Micropatent is probably similar, and supposedly allows you to search the text of patents issued before 1970. I do not have experience with Micropatent.  
 
Tips for developing patent search skills....I would say...just become familiar with the classification listings on the USPTO's site (at the least, ideally it helps as well to become familiar with IPC and ECLA classifications too)
 
found here:
 
http://www.uspto.gov/go/classification/
 
Become familiar with using the boolean search operators utilized by whatever site you are using to conduct searches.
 
Become more familiar with common patent terminology and structure, so you get a better idea of what you should generally be looking for.
 
You get better with experience.  
 
Edited to add: since it hasn't been mentioned yet, once you locate relevant patents, 'reference' searching can be an easy and worthwile task to help ensure a more thorough search.  Most patents reference similar prior art cited by the examiner (and some even summarize prior art within the patent's text).  You can also search the USPTO and other engines pretty easily to locate forward references as well.  
« Last Edit: Jun 7th, 2006, 9:09pm by CriterionD » IP Logged

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JSonnabend
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Re: Basics in patent search..
« Reply #3 on: Jun 8th, 2006, 7:15am »
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Quote:
since it hasn't been mentioned yet, once you locate relevant patents, 'reference' searching can be an easy and worthwile task to help ensure a more thorough search.  Most patents reference similar prior art cited by the examiner (and some even summarize prior art within the patent's text).  You can also search the USPTO and other engines pretty easily to locate forward references as well.  

That's the key right there.  Once you "crack the nut", the information generally flows.  I've found it to be true of legal research in general, not just in prior art searching.
 
- Jeff
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SonnabendLaw
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Re: Basics in patent search..
« Reply #4 on: Jun 8th, 2006, 8:58am »
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I'm assuming that you are searching both issued patents and published patent applications, another area that should not be forgotten.  
 
Re. published applications specifically, and a comprehensive patent search in general, there is the 18 month "Black Hole" in which a relevant application may have been filed but is not available to the public for 18 months. I always disclose this to my clients letting them know that there may exist some "spot on" prior art out there that we just can't get at.
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Norm Gilman
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