Patentsurf Discussion: http://www.patentsurf.net/
A comment from by Harrsha Reddy on the Intellectual Property Practitioners blog led me to explore the Patentsurf web tool. The comment: "Nice tool for invalidity search or to find the closest prior art, good part of this tool is that you need to put the patent number of your interest and this will give all closest patent with out writing the keywords" - Reddy
Patentsurf is linked to our members only PIUG Wiki list of Patent Database Resources: http://www.patentsurf.net/ I had not tried this web search engine and decided to throw in a basic term that should do well as a natural language query: "milk processing" which covers everything from collecting milk to the pasteurization and bottling process. I did not add a particular patent classification or truncate terms.
Upon receiving the result set, I clicked on the term WIKI: It appears to have taken a Wikipedia record and extracted basic "verbs" from the various dairy definition. One could learn about the milking process by reading the accompanying WIKI article or choose to hold or search the verb terms on the resulting list. I looked at the Wiki definition of automatic milking and decided to select those terms related to "valve or actuator", collect a list of related terms and then manipulate them further.
I extracted from WIKI SURF list #1 the following terms. "alfa laval", Tesla, valve. milk. actuator, "hydraulic vacuum", "hydropneumatic suction", dairy, teat, regulator – and pasted these terms into a new PatentSurf search window. The resulting list of patents was not comprehensive, but the iterative process only retrieved patents related to the mammal milking or animal milking process. (Not vacuum cleaners or auto parts).
By repeating this process, one could very quickly collect list of terms, and more importantly identify terms or patents that prove useful or highly relevant.
In this case, I selected assignee names and dairy terms that were most closely aligned with valve actuators that controlled or released suction, one could obtain further lists of patents. This is where the process ended. I did not see a clear method of bucketing these patents after the browsing process for further manipulation.
While I see many promising features, additional testing is required to determine whether or not the PatentSurf product is a good tool for validity searching. I have not pursued this NLP browser further to determine it's effectiveness or comprehensiveness. It does, however, open up a world of vocabulary and patent numbers that can be further explored on traditional online databases. Since it is presently free, it can be used as a pre-processing tool to investigate terminology and develop vocabulary. Additionally, I would like to see a clear method of collecting or "bucketing" the patents to be reused without manually cutting and pasting patent numbers into a new search.
A second feature unrelated to natural language query searching that would make the tool more robust is an automatic "cite forward" or "cite backward" reiteration process. Once all patents are collected into a bucket or patent set, the cite forward process could be invoked. Alternatively if one is able to cite forward and backward, then narrow by IPC, USPC or EP patent classes then one should be able to develop a promising search technique using a web based patent search tool.
While we tend to use databases that are highly indexed and annotated, perhaps others will find these tools useful
I am interested in hearing from other PIUG members and knowing about their reactions or their experience with this product - especially those analysts who work with mechanical device patents – in any field of engineering or medicine.