Day 3 from the Patent Information Users Group Conference - "Indexing and Classification when Searching and Analyzing Patents"

Day 3 from the Patent Information Users Group Conference - "Indexing and Classification when Searching and Analyzing Patents"

Wednesday morning's technical sessions of the Patent Information Users Group conference were titled "Updates from the Patent Offices" and "Best Practices in Patent Information Search and Analysis."  Stephen Adams of Magister Ltd., a long-time respected consultant in patent research, presented the history of the attempt to create a European Community patent.   This type of patent would streamline and reduce the cost of patenting in the European Union.  It would be especially cost effective for small businesses.  Mr. Adams explained that this type of patent would not replace the EP patent (i.e., a patent published by the European Patent Office).  Rather, due to the different memberships in the European Union and the European Patent Office, it would exist in parallel with the EP patent.  Since 1975,  there have been a number of unsuccessful attempts to create what is now called a "Unitary Patent."   The complexities of European Union law have proven to be a downfall.  However, positive signs appeared earlier this year.   A concept of "enhanced cooperation" has begun to facilitate the process.   As a result, twenty-five EU Member States have agreed to participate.   

Another patent office update was provided by Chuan Shen, Vice Director of the Business Development Department of China's Intellectual Property Publishing House (IPPH).  IPPH was founded by China's State Intellectual Property Office (SIPO).   Ms. Shen described how patent data is built and updated by SIPO, using the Traditional Chinese Medicine Patent Database as an example.    

A highlight of the morning talks on "Best Practices in Patent Information Search and  Analysis" was Dr. David Gange's  overview of new methods for in-depth classification code analysis.   Dr. Gange is a consultant in chemical patent searching with over 20 years of experience.  He described a relational database management system that facilitates classification code analysis.  He noted that it is now easier to assemble large datasets since U.S. patent data has been made available free of charge by Google.

The afternoon sessions featured a panel discussion on "crowdsourcing" patent prior art research.  It was followed by talks on the topic "Getting More Out of Indexing and Classification."   The panel on crowdsourcing consisted of Keith Bergelt of Open Invention Network, Ria Farrell Schalnat of Frost Brown Todd LLC, and Andrea Casillas of Peer to Patent Project at New York Law School.   They defined "crowdsourcing" as "taking tasks traditionally performed by an employee or contractor, and outsourcing them to a group of people or a community, through an 'open call' to a large group of people (a crowd) asking for contributions."    They agreed that crowdsourcing prior art searches helps discover more prior art.  It helps verify the novelty of patent applications, leading to less litigation and higher patent quality. 

On the topic "Getting More Out of Indexing and Classification", Yateen Pargaonkar, Competitive Intelligence Manager at Procter & Gamble, noted that even minor differences in indexing, classification codes, and search strategies can lead to variations in search results.  These variations  lower the quality of a competitive report.   He reviewed the root causes of the differences and identified strategies to minimize the effect of variations.  Another great discussion in this segment was Aalt van de Kuilen's overview of the latest developments in machine translation and multilingual search retrieval.  He reviewed the Information Retrieval Facility's project called PLuTO (Patent Language Translations Online).   The technology used in PLuTO "represents the intertwining of machine translation, translation memories, and cross-lingual retrieval."  It continually improves as it is used by professional  searchers, using their knowledge to "grow" its own knowledge.  Sounds like science fiction?  No, it's real!   And it's on earth, not on the planet Pluto.  J 

The Wednesday sessions ended another great year at the Patent Information Users Group conference.   There is so much to learn about developments in patent research, and so little time.  I'm sure we will be amazed at all the new ideas next year in Denver at the 2012 conference.  See you then!


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