Patent Mining using Google Patents
Google Patents is an open source search engine, powered by Google’s search algorithm that uses the information originated from the United States Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO), the European Patent Office (EPO) and the World Intellectual Property Organization (WIPO), dating back to 1790 & 1978.
ADVANTAGES OF USING GOOGLE PATENTSI have been using Google Patents search engine for a while and have discovered many advantages as well as disadvantages while using it. First and foremost, out of all of the advantages that Google Patents has, one that stands out the most is its user friendliness and close-relationship with Google Web Search Engine. As such, Google Patent is easy to use by patent and non-patent practitioners or individuals. Also, the result page, because it uses Google's own search algorithm it displays results fairly quick, relevant, simple and intuitive while providing a two sentence summary of each of the patents presented. This allows for easy skimming of the patents without having to dive-into each of the results shown which, in most case, tend to be a lot.
Secondly, Google Patent provides all of the information relevant to a particular patent within a single screen format such as:
a. Patent Name;
b. Publication Name;
c. Inventor Name;
e. Filing Date;
f. Publication Date;
g. Publication Type;
h. Original Assignee name;
i. Patent Specifications, Summary, Descriptions and Claims;
j. Export Citation tools;
k. Other patents referenced;
l. Other classifications;
m. External links to other websites that hold reference to the subject patent.
Finally, there are three (3) more advantages that Google Patents provides over other patent search tool that are worth mentioning:
1) First, is their translation feature and, although I cannot 'vouch' for the accurateness of said translations, it has helped me in the past in particular with patents in languages other than English, Spanish or Portuguese.
2) Next, a very important feature for patent practitioners is the feature of finding prior art that Google Patents provides. Said tool identifies key phrases from a particular patent and searches through documents located in the USPTO, EPO or WIPO and the rest of the web for that particular key phrase.
3) Last but not least, is the Bulk Patent and Trademark Download feature that helps analyze thousands or millions of patents at once.
DISADVANTAGES OF USING GOOGLE PATENTSAcknowledging that Google Patents is scraping off information from other Patent and Trademark Offices around the world, there are not many disadvantages to using Google Patents, at least as a first pass. Some of the major flaws I have found with Google Patent have to relate with the missing of patents as well as their indexing system. I have searched for a particular patent in Google Patents that I know it exists, but is nowhere to be found, as well as discovered scanning errors in some of the patent information (i.e. No vs. N0).
Also, I have been unsuccessful at using Google Patents' for searching the most recent patents and in most situations have only found the first version of each patent.
SEARCH STRATEGYRegardless of the search engine used to mine patent information, one must carry out an adequate search strategy to retrieve pertinent results. In Google's patent search engine, one can use a vast array of search strings, mostly familiar to the common user. It is important to note however, that keywords used can be truncated to pick up various combinations of a word, like plurals, irregular forms and various conjugations. For example, in order to find Abraham's Lincoln 1849 Buoying vessels over shoals Patent, one could truncate a keyword as 'bouy*' or 'vessel' or 'vessel and shoal' or 'Lincoln AND shoal' to retrieve different forms of the aforementioned patent. There is also an advanced patent search tool that allows user not familiar with BOOLEAN SEARCHING to individual enter the approximate values they are looking for and select certain parameters to narrow or expand their scope (i.e. contains, like, begins with).