You're interested in a particular technology field but have no idea where to begin. You've got a patent search tool called PatSnap available to you but have no idea what you can do with it to achieve your goals. In this article, I am going to go through how you would use PatSnap to achieve these goals.
The obvious place to start is a simple keyword search but even for something like this, there are certain ways of doing it which will help you get results closer to what you are interested in. Let's say you are interested in the automotive industry and you go to the search page and simply type "car" into the "Main Fields" search box.
Once you reach the search results page after you have performed this search, you can see lots of results that contain the word "car".
The issue with this is that patent owners often use synonyms within their patent applications since this makes it harder for their competitors to find their patents. Because of this it is worth also using the various synonyms for the keywords you have inputted into your search.
After going through this with our example, you decide that the words/phrases that could be considered as synonyms for "car" are "automobile" and "motorcar", building a search query of "car" OR "automobile" OR "motorcar" and giving more results in total.
Once you have got this far you may think that many of the results aren't relevant. The reason for this is because when inputting a search query in the "All" field this will search within the entirety of each of the patent documents, not necessarily the important parts. This can be problematic since, for example, the title, abstract and claims are more important than the description.
- Titles give a very brief meaning to the document.
- Abstracts give a paragraph long description of the overall purpose and intent of the invention described.
- The claims describe exactly what the patent is protecting, and defines the limit of what the patent owner has a right to exclude others from doing and usually is the most important part of the patent.
- The description is a full explanation of the invention but as it does not define what is protected and often mentions words not specific to the technology it is often considered as not as important and may be worth leaving out of searches.
To search in the title, abstract and claims you can use the search command TAC. So for our example, the search query would be TAC:("car" OR "automobile" OR "motorcar") and you get the following results:
Even after you have done this, you may still feel that your results are still not relevant and it may then be a good move to use some classification codes in your search. The most commonly used of these is the IPC as it has been used for the longest time and is used globally.
The way you would use this is to go to the IPC filters on the left-hand side of the screen and then select the relevant IPC codes from here.
As you are specifically interested in cars and how they work you decide only to search for patents that have the IPC codes that begin with B (if you look in our classification search for B this is given as "Performing Operations; Transporting") so you select B60H1/00, B60R16/02, B66B11/02, B60J5/04, B60L11/18, B60R11/02, B62D25/08 and B66B5/00.
From here you get the following results which seem more relevant.
These are the best ways we recommend for making your search results more relevant but you should not feel that this stops you from trying to make them even more relevant. You can do this by using other classification codes (such as CPCs, LOCs or UPCs, for example), searching within specific application/publication years, searching for specific assignees/inventors or even searching for patents from specific authorities.
You can also save a template for your choices of search field by clicking the "Save template" button from the "Advanced Search" page which will mean that you will always see the same search fields when you access this page.
To sum up, it may initially seem that searching for a specific technology is complicated but once you become well-versed in some of the best practices regarding this it can become whole easier. If you are still having difficulties with this, please feel free to let us know by emailing firstname.lastname@example.org.