No matter whether you are an attorney, an R&D professional, or an entrepreneur, an effective and comprehensive patent search is important to make your patenting activity a success. And when it comes to doing an effective patent search, PatentScope (patent database provided by the WIPO) is one of those that worth consideration. With an user-friendly interface and more than 48 million patent related data, it is the goldmine of information for patent professionals.
If you are not much aware of using this interface you can read our previous article where we described comprehensively about various elements and components that are available in it. Moving one step forward this time we will describe on various strategies that a patent search professional can employ for an effective search of patents in this database.
So, without much ado here go those patent search strategies that can make your search a comprehensive and effective one.
Patent Search Strategies to be Used in WIPO Database
Patent search by keywords
This is the most common type of patent search in WIPO (PatentScope) database, wherein, we prepare a list of keywords that can describe the product/article being covered in claims of the patent or the problem the invention is intended to solve.
To make our searches more specific we can use various operators like “AND”, “OR”, “XOR”, “ANDNOT”, and “NEAR”,. In other words we can say is that these Word Operators/Boolean Operators are used to combine/exclude keywords. Apart from using these Boolean operators we can also use truncation operators/wild card operators to truncate/shorten words. Some wild card operators that we can use in WIPO database are asterisk (.), question mark (?), dollar sign ($), or percent sign (%).
WIPO patent search database also allows Nesting wherein we can use parentheses to organize search queries in order to resolve potentially confusing search queries.
Patent search by patent classification
For the sake of convenience, patent documents are categorized into classes depending upon the technology group or groups to which the innovation described in the document belongs. These patent classification systems are independent of language and terminology and are assigned to patent and other technical documents by professional patent examiners. As a result, searching patent documents by patent classification can help overcome some of the pitfalls of searching by keywords alone.
From highest to lowest; these levels are- sections, classes, subclasses, and groups (main groups and subgroups). A search performed using, for example, the subclass C21B will return all records classified under the main group C21B 7/00 as well as the main groups C21B 3/00, C21B 5/00, and so forth.
Patent search by number/date ranges
Patents are structured and legal documents and thus are assigned with various unique identification numbers at each stage in the patenting process. For example, patent documents are assigned an application number, a publication number; and a patent number (if the patent is granted by a competent national or regional authority). Similarly, patent documents are assigned with various identification dates like date of filing, date of publication; and, priority date (the date of filing of the patent application on the basis of which priority is claimed).
Patent documents can be identified and located with any of those above mentioned number(s)/date(s)/date range(s). Many patent search databases offer range operators to refine our searches. Common range operators can include: greater than (>), less than (<), greater than or equal to (>=), less than or equal to (<=) and unequal to (<>).The WIPO PATENTSCOPE search service uses brackets […TO…] and the -> operator to specify a range of dates.
Search by applicant/assignee name or by inventor name
Assignee/applicant search is another kind of search that a searcher can undertake in WIPO patent search database. This search is undertaken when we seek information on the patenting activities of specific individuals, companies or organizations. The same techniques as described in the above section can be used to search the desired patent related information.
Search in specific data fields
There are many cases when a user might want to search for words, numbers, or combinations thereof in a particular data field rather than in the whole document, in such a situation search in specific data fields could be of immense use.
Using citations and reference information
One of the best things about patent documents is that each document is cited and referenced with other relevant documents that may determine the novelty and non-obviousness of the invention in question. Moreover, in the course of the procedure for obtaining a patent, patent examiners prepare reports in which they may cite patent documents or other documents describing similar or closely related technical solutions to the one for which the patent is being sought.
Citations contained in patent documents can be a useful way of identifying additional documents related to the technology being investigated or help uncover further search criteria.