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Have you ever conducted a patent search? If you’ve done a patent search professionally, you will probably agree that there are many specialized techniques and concepts that a user must learn before they can conduct an adequate search. I recently sat down with Matthew Rodgers, instructor of Patent Resources Group’s Art and Science of Patent Searching course, to discuss exactly how patent searches differ from regular non-patent literature (NPL) searches.
After the jump, Matthew Rodgers describes the nuances of patent searching and how patent professionals can improve their search skills through the Art and Science of Patent Searching!
How did you get involved in the patent search and analysis field?
Rodgers: My career in the patent field began at the USPTO where I worked as a patent examiner. After working at a law firm and as a patent analyst for Landon IP, I now lead Landon IP’s Patent Search Group.
Which types of professionals can benefit from taking the Art and Science of Patent Searching course? What are the most important skills they will learn through this course?
Rodgers: Professionals who can benefit from the Art and Science of Patent Searching include patent liaisons, technical specialists, patent attorneys, and patent agents who need to learn the structure and methodology behind patent searches. Most attendees have some patent searching experience (although some have none) and general patent field experience either as a practitioner, engineer or scientist. Most attendees are looking for new search mechanisms and a framework for their search projects.
An important skill that participants will learn is how to approach a search in a very systematic way. In fact, I say the word “systematic” repeatedly during the course. Proper searching is complex and involves a combination of following a clear plan as well as knowing when to use some creativity. The course provides a framework for how to properly scope out a search’s subject matter, map the approach the searcher will follow, identify the resources to use, and how to treat certain decision points. Participants will learn both the mechanics of a generic search and the nuances of different search types.
What are some issues unique to searching for patent documents that will be addressed in this course?
Rodgers: First, patent literature is unique when compared to most other types of technical literature in that it is highly organized, highly uniform, but oddly written (as compared to plain English or other native language). There are search mechanisms that beneficially leverage the idiosyncrasies of patent literature as well as search mechanisms that minimize the potential pitfalls that can occur because of them. Most of the business and legal needs behind searching require that a searcher not miss a single thing. The mechanisms and insight conveyed throughout the course are aimed at satisfying this requirement.
How does this course differ from workshops hosted by database providers?
Rodgers: This course isn’t a “how-to” lesson about the use of a search engine. Participants will get hands-on experiences in the Optional Patent Searching Workshop, but this course is actually focused on the theories and concepts behind patent searching. Participants will learn how to conceptually frame and execute a search. There are also many opportunities for discussion given the wide range of topics adjacent to patent searching – patent laws, global patent office practices, technological developments in new information search tools, even global economics to some extent.
Will different databases be compared in their coverage, search features, and ease of use?
Rodgers: We will discuss our (Landon IP’s) anecdotal and practical experiences with different search tools since we use every major available search tool on a daily basis. For detailed specifics on different databases, participants can visit Intellogist.
How will participants benefit from the Optional Patent Searching Workshop?
Rodgers: The Workshop will allow participants to use sample search disclosures to set up, frame, and execute a practice search with the search tool of their choice using the mechanisms taught during the course, and experts will be on hand during the workshop to provide immediate feedback and guidance.
What is the most interesting question or comment you’ve heard from participants about the course?
Rodgers: I’m not sure about which would be the most interesting. However, I hear this comment over and over again:
I never knew how complex patent searching really is.
The Art and Science of Patent Searching is part of Patent Resources Group’s August Advanced Courses. Visit the PRG website to learn more about the Art and Science of Patent Searching and to register for the PRG courses.
What are some of the techniques specific to patent searching that a new searcher must learn in order to be successful? Let us know in the comments!