The limitation with keyword and class code searching, of course, is finding the right keywords and class codes. Sometimes this is obvious - sometimes it is less obvious that we might want.

Luckily Ambercite Cluster Searching can help with this. Providing that you have reasonable patent number to start with, Cluster Searching can quickly find similar patents. Besides using these patents as results for your search, the titles of these patents can quickly suggest which keywords can be used to strengthen your conventional searching. Similarly looking at the top ranked patents can help suggest the likely class codes. 

And this can be done very quickly, as discussed in the blog linked here


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  1. This issue has been discussed previously several times.  The method suggested here, basically citation searching, has been admitted, by the author of these posts, to be more applicable to those categories of patents which typically have no indexing, including "mechanicals".  However, chemical patents have been abstracted and indexed for decades by several organizations which greatly facilitates searching for relevant patents.  This characteristic capability, valuable and relevant indexing, also applies to searching chemical and related information (biological, biomedical, etc.) in general and not just for patents.  In addition, relying on titles for sources of candidate keywords for searching is often notoriously inadequate due to "creative" writing of titles by applicants, a practice which could cynically termed "hiding" the information in the patent.

    Bottom line: for chemical patents and other indexed patents, citation searching and methods described in this posting are indeed valuable but could probably better considered supplementary rather than primary searching methods.  This is not an isolated viewpoint but one shared by many searchers, the prominent veterans of which (both current and those no longer with us) have shared in many publications and presentations.

    -- Bob Buntrock

    Orono, ME

  2. Mike Lloyd AUTHOR

    Hello Bob - Thank you for your valuable feedback.

    Chemical patent searchers are indeed lucky in that chemical patents are very well indexed. 

    However the reality is that chemical patents represent only a small proportion of the total patent literature. I ran a report in the WIPO database just now for global patent publications over the last 20 years. WIPO apply a sorting systems which segregates patents into 35 different classes.

    This data showed 30 million publications, of 6.5  million patents (22%) referred to chemistry or pharmaceuticals. A further 670,000 patents were for biotechnology patents. 

    So, in other words, 22.7 million of these publications have not received the benefits of the indexing system used for chemical patents. And that is before looking at patents published before 1997. 

    I also note that some of the world's leading chemical companies, and some leading pharmaceutical companies, are using our citation searching products. 

    My point about reviewing titles was to highlight how inconsistent language can be, and how a review of patent title can soon show this. I may have over-simplified this point, and will update the blog to suggest that a detailed review of the language found in the most similar patents may yield further insight - thank you for bringing this to my attention.

    And lastly - I fully agree that citation searching is a supplementary technique. Most of our clients use it alongside conventional searching - which is exactly what my blog was talking about, how Cluster Searching can support and strengthen conventional searching.  



  3. Hello Mike,

    The link of the Blog is not working. Would you provide provide the link.


    Mrinmoy Roy

  4. Mike Lloyd AUTHOR

    Sorry about this - I have now updated the link. Thank you for pointing this out to me.