Types of Patent Search Strategies

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Types of Patent Search Strategies

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Different Approaches for Patent Searches

Different approaches for searching patent can be categorized under the following heads:

  • Keyword searches,
  • Classification searches,
  • Boolean Searches,
  • Structure searches,
  • Sequence searches, and
  • Image searches

Keyword Searches

The most widely used and basic search category for patent searching involves the use of concepts and terms related to the invention by inserting text characters as search terms. Search term includes alternative terms, synonyms, spelling variations, acronyms. It also helps in finding records related to similar technology area.

Classification Searches

Classification searches are performed used to categorize patents based on a specific code that groups inventions according to the technical area. It is an easy, comprehensive, faster and quicker way of classifying patents as per the subject matter.

Classification systems:

  • International Patent Classification (IPC),
  • United States Patent Classification (USPC),
  • Cooperative Patent Classification (CPC),
  • Japanese FI and F term classification, F stands for “feature”.

Earlier European Patent Classification (ELICA) was also used but to make the classification easier Cooperative Patent Classification (CPC) was introduced. CPC is an extension of the IPC and is jointly managed by the EPO and the US Patent and Trademark Office. 

The classification search is used in combination with other search strategies to yield the best search results to the searcher conducting a search in a particular technical area.

Boolean Searches

Boolean Search is a type of search allowing searches to combine keywords with operators such as AND, NOT and OR to produce more relevant results.

Structure Searches

Structure searches involve searching chemical structures on certain databases based on atom to atom and fragment to fragment indexing of chemical structures. 

Sequence Searches

Sequence searches are used for searching chemical structures on certain database based on nucleotide and protein sequences.

Image Searches

Image searches are conducted on Google platform which allows image to image mapping based on a search algorithm helpful in identifying similar images.

Why perform Patent searching?

Patent Searching is performed:

  • To determine the novelty of the invention and idea by finding similar patents and prior arts.
  • To discover owners of a particular patent or patents in a field of interest.
  • To validate and invalidate the particular patent searching.

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