Keyword Patent Search Part 1


In our prior blog post, Patent Searching 101, we provided a brief overview of three different types of patent searching available in Innography’s patent analytics and patent search tool, Advanced Analysis. This week, we will be focusing on the most common patent searching method amongst patent tools - keyword patent searching.


In our prior blog post, Patent Searching 101, we provided a brief overview of three different types of patent searching available in Innography’s patent analytics and patent search tool, Advanced Analysis:

  • Keyword Patent Search
  • Semantic Patent Search
  • Advanced Patent Search

This week, we will be focusing on the most common patent searching method amongst patent tools - keyword patent searching. 

Keyword Basics

Innography’s patent tool Advanced Analysis, relies on basic Boolean search to structure your keyword patent searches. The basic Boolean syntax includes the use of AND, OR, NOT, and sub queries (in parentheses). For more detail on patent search syntax, I recommend to all of my Innography clients that they download and print the General Syntax Quick Reference and keep it handy at their desk.

When creating a keyword patent search, the first step is to build out a set of keywords and terms around your technology area of interest.  If I were to construct a patent search string for sunglasses, I might start with:

sunglasses OR (sun AND glasses)

Alternatively, if I wished to search (sun AND glasses) as a phrase, I could do so with the following:

sunglasses OR “sun glasses”

 “” are used when searching for specific phrases.  Also, remember Innography stems keywords for you, so do not waste time typing:

sunglass OR sunglasses OR “sun glass” OR “sun glasses”

Keyword Discovery

You could sit and brainstorm keywords on your own or you can utilize tools and resources to apply a little more rigor around your keyword development.  I have found success in using the following tools and resources in my keyword patent searching: 

  • Using Innography’s Advanced Analysis to perform patent analysis on a known competitor’s portfolio.
    Watch an example
  • Using Innography’s Semantic patent search by pasting a few paragraphs of describing your technology or product into the search box and evaluating the results for viable keywords.
    Watch an example

  • Searching Non-Patent Literature (NPL)
  • Asking a Subject Matter Expert (SME): Chances are there are SMEs within your organization that can provide you with synonyms and insight into key technology features that can help build your keyword searches.

Proximity Searching

You may find through your keyword discovery that you may need to move beyond basic Boolean terms (e.g., OR, AND) and start to use proximity operators (e.g., NEAR/#, “”~#).  As demonstrated in the videos above, we discovered new keywords (e.g., eyewear, eyeglasses, spectacles) two different ways. First, by analyzing Luxottica’s portfolio to find similar patents and then using the Text Clustering visualization to identify new keywords; Second, by inputting a technical description of sunglasses to find semantically similar patents and then using Text Clustering visualization to identify new keywords  The newly-identified patent search terms are helpful, but we are specifically looking for eyewear used for filtering sunlight.  Using proximity operators we can construct the following keyword patent search string using our newly identified keywords:

 (eyeglasses OR “eye glasses” OR eyewear OR “eye wear” OR spectacles) NEAR/5 (sun OR sunlight OR solar)

The NEAR/# operator allows you to adjust the number of words between the eyeglasses keywords and the filtering sunlight keywords, by simply changing the number to your desired number proximity.  For example if you change the 5 to a 10, this will adjust the proximity of keywords from 5 words to 10 words.   The adjustment of the proximity number is best done iteratively.  When refining the proximity, it is helpful to check the following to ensure that you bringing in the desired set of patents:

  • Changes in Relevance Score
  • Changes in the Number of Patents
  • Changes in Organizations
  • Usage of Keywords from Patent Overview Page  [click to view video of highlighting keywords from patent overview page]

Visualizing your Patent Search Strategy

When building out my keyword-based patent search strategies, I find it helpful to create visualizations of my patent search strategies, as seen below.  The visualizations help not only to organize your thoughts, but also in the communication of your patent search strategy to your manager and colleagues.

In our next blog entry, we will continue with part two of keyword patent searching, when we will focus on fine tuning and checking your keyword patent search strategies.




Leave a Comment