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Patent Search? Dangerous?

Postby Persistent1 » Tue Aug 24, 2010 11:03 pm

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On the subject of patent searches, does everyone feel comfortable with the sites that provide these? In todays computer warfare (what I call it) search engine providers steal information about every household and hold it in a file to sell to other companies or just to sell us items that we put in their search. EXAMPLE: If you type Honda Accord in a Google search the next week there are ads on your Gmail or wherever you go on the net selling you a Honda. FACEBOOK: It will have ads on the sidebar that says Wanted 29-34 year old cops, because your between 29-34? So forth because these companies have your profile, age, interests, in order to sell to you (Guerilla Marketing) or (Invasion of Privacy).
Anyway, how can you feel confident to type in the name of your invention to look for prior art? These website creators and their computer programmers have this ability to steal this info and if they targeted just for the purpose of taking an invention idea even if just by putting together a few lucky words our Patent system (or us Inventors) could be effected. Even if it was a secured website. Any Thoughts?

Re: Patent Search? Dangerous?

Postby Scrupulous » Wed Aug 25, 2010 1:38 pm

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It's even worse than that. Nowadays, the minute you open a google window, the contents of your clipboard automatically gets plugged into an internet search, giving you your list of hits.

Google has never said they did not exist to make money, AFAIK. There is no disclaimer on their Google Patents search engine that I'm aware of, which states that your activity remains confidential. And given that just a few good keywords, or its title alone, can give away the core of the invention, I'd say you would definitely be playing with fire.

That's why I don't use google for keyword searches, only to look up patent numbers. Heck, if you look up too many patents by number, even that can be deduced to a likely concept by today's algorithms.

I normally use the USPTO database for keyword searches. And yes, even that could be subject to security issues. So, it kinda boils down to being prepared to decide to file, even before conducting the search.

Great topic...

Re: Patent Search? Dangerous?

Postby apapage » Tue Sep 07, 2010 8:42 pm

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I too avoid google. First, I find that it is not as accurate as some other patent search services. Believe it or not, I could not find one of my published patent applications in google patents by plugging in the title and my name. I prefer free patents online. It is better than the PTO in that it allows you to search the patents and published apps in one search whereas the PTO does not. Also, sorts by relevance, which saves a lot of time.

Re: Patent Search? Dangerous?

Postby Elroch » Mon Sep 13, 2010 6:38 am

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You have identified a potential security risk, but there are factors which make it not something to worry unduly about.

Firstly, most patents are not valuable, and this is more so for patent applications (many of which will fail for various reasons, and are consequentially of no intrinsic value). While your patentable idea may be valuable, the person spying on each search has no obvious way of telling that without a lot of hard work, probably involving expert input.

Secondly, your search is probably not going to tell anyone what it is about your idea that makes it valuable. If this can be described in a couple of words (eg chocolate golf ball, flying car), it's probably already been done. You are searching for related patents, not for exactly your idea. [If you do find your exact idea, you need not worry any more about it being stolen!]

Perhaps you could bear in mind with each search not giving away the specifics of your idea, to be safe.

Re: Patent Search? Dangerous?

Postby Scrupulous » Mon Sep 13, 2010 10:56 am

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Elroch wrote:You have identified a potential security risk, but there are factors which make it not something to worry unduly about.

Firstly, most patents are not valuable, and this is more so for patent applications (many of which will fail for various reasons, and are consequentially of no intrinsic value). While your patentable idea may be valuable, the person spying on each search has no obvious way of telling that without a lot of hard work, probably involving expert input.

Secondly, your search is probably not going to tell anyone what it is about your idea that makes it valuable. If this can be described in a couple of words (eg chocolate golf ball, flying car), it's probably already been done. You are searching for related patents, not for exactly your idea. [If you do find your exact idea, you need not worry any more about it being stolen!]

Perhaps you could bear in mind with each search not giving away the specifics of your idea, to be safe.


First, IMHO, not "giving away" the specifics during a patent/application search would be a big waste of time. The objective of a search is indeed to find the exact concept, if possible, not to dance around the inventive elements. If that's not found, then yes, the next closest references become most relevant. I can appreciate anyone's perspective really. But let's not forget the way patent searching has evolved...

In the very old days, you were lucky if you could make it to the patent office to perform a manual search of a small but growing number of volumes of patent files. You would do it by classification, because that was the only way you'd ever find the "right" place to look. Computer databases and keyword searching were not available at the time.

Back then, the results of patent searches were actually more relevant, because the very method for searching sorta mimicked the thought processes that an inventor would necessarily go thru before coming up with a new (sometimes better) solution to an existing problem. Back then search results could give you a good idea whether or not a new concept ought to be considered obvious, in light of prior art.

Nowadays, you can jump right to a specific list of the most relevant prior art, regardless of its classification, simply by doing an effective keyword search. Now, not all the results ought to be considered when determining obviousness, because they may be in fields which are not pertinent to the problem solved by the invention in question. But that is certainly not a reason to avoid taking the most effective approach to finding the references that truly are relevant.

And second, if it was good business to trust everyone, then patents themselves wouldn't really be necessary. You could say that they are more useful to stake legible claims to anything new, regardless of whether the claims are obvious or not, but I've thought that for years...

Re: Patent Search? Dangerous?

Postby CriterionD » Mon Sep 13, 2010 2:15 pm

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Nowadays, you can jump right to a specific list of the most relevant prior art, regardless of its classification, simply by doing an effective keyword search


I have to disagree somewhat with this statement. I guess it depends on the definition of an "effective keyword search," but in my experience no search that is simply a keyword search will, usually at least, turn up a good percentage of the most relevant results. A good keyword search will often turn up relevant results, and sometimes will turn up one or two of the most relevant results, but in my experience I would not necessarily expect it to turn up more than a couple of, say, the 15 most relevant patent publications out there. Google Patents does help but only so much.

Now, an effective keyword search will give you results that can rival those of what you might receive from some of the discount firms out there on the 'Net...and sometimes a well-formed keyword search certainly can quickly lead you to some of the most relevant prior art. In at least a few cases an effective keyword-based search can be as or more effective that an old-fashioned classification-based search.

When I conduct searches on Delphion, I find that it is possible to put together a boolean search string, that will turn up a manageable number of results, and contain a good percentage of the most relevant results. But, these search strings usually include classification criteria, they include advanced boolean operators, and it is not necessarily too uncommon for a search string to exceed 1,000 characters (I have ran searches on Delphion including 200+ search terms and 200+ boolean operators). And even then, usually I cannot put together such a good search string until I have already been conducting a search and am more familiar with the search-specific learning curve, and even then these searches are usually not primarily sufficient to locate all of the most relevant prior art / patent publications.

Just saying...
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http://www.criteriondynamics.com

Re: Patent Search? Dangerous?

Postby Scrupulous » Mon Sep 13, 2010 10:25 pm

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Right, what I do is find the most relevant ones from a manageable list generated by an efficient keyword search. Then I check each of them for patents and applications referenced within each of them, and for referencing of each of them by others. To me, it makes sense to utilize the results of research that has already been done for earlier/later references, by the examiners and applicants in those cases.

But, given that the duration prior to publishing applications has remained steady for a decade (if they get published at all) while the rate for technological development increases exponentially, I don't see why anyone would expect to find the most relevant cases anywhere but held in secrecy by the patent office.

Ultimately I think the "best" search is done by the examiner, because that's the only one that matters. Sure the courts can eventually decide the fate of an issued patent. Yet, the fact that it is issued alone represents an obstacle to infringement at least.

cron