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Friday, February 07, 2003

Searching Patents on Government Databases on the Web"
By Ron Kaminecki

You have an idea that you wish to patent but are uncertain of how to conduct a proper search of the literature (a.k.a. a search of the prior art) so that you can determine if your idea is novel.

You may have heard that searching patents is difficult, but it is possible to do a reasonable search inexpensively on the Internet if you spend sufficient time at the appropriate websites and you know of some of the nuances of the patent system.

"Patent Searching Without Words - Why Do It, How To Do It?"
By Stephen Adams

In January 2002, Ron Kaminecki of Dialog wrote an article in Free Pint in which he described some of the basic principles and sources for patent searching. I would like to extend his work a little, and describe some alternative approaches.

In the commercial world, there are two important reasons why a company should consult the patent literature. Firstly, to be forewarned about the risk of accidentally infringing someone else's patent. Secondly, if the search draws a blank and it appears that no-one else has patent protection, this fact will help a patent attorney in the process of drafting your own application.

In both cases, our fundamental target is the same - to identify one or more patents which are 'about' the same invention. Our search strategy must try to describe the technology using search terms which will capture other documents with the same degree of 'about-ness'. To put it another way, we are looking for concepts rather than a mere match of words.

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