Full text - the future of patent searchingAugust 31st, 2010 — lakshmikant
Full text patent searching helps in identifying the relevant patent records that would have otherwise eluded a non full text patent search. Let’s say that in a specific non full text patent search we obtain a certain number of relevant patent records. And if the same search were to be conducted considering the full text, it is likely to yield more relevant patent records than what was obtained without the full text. The comprehensiveness of the patent search is enhanced when the scope includes the full text of the patents searched.
On the contrary, if we were to consider the above search scenario from a data relevancy ratio perspective, then it is only obvious to expect a lower relevancy rate in latter’s scope than in the former. Due to the low data relevancy prevailing in a full text patent search, it can be assumed that the associated time taken to analyze increases significantly. Subsequently, the cost associated with a full text search is significantly more than a search without it. We believe that the choice between the two is completely determined from the business implication of the search and with the legal considerations with which the search is conducted. In other words, if there is strong business value in finding relevant un-licensed IP belonging to well known patent holders, then an exhaustive analysis involving the full text in the scope of search is warranted. However, if the goal is to conduct simple state of art search or validity search, where the principle of first-past-the-pole principle applies, then the marginal value of incremental hits with full text search is justified only if the search result set searched without the full text does not provide sufficient evidence. Hence, the future of full text patent searching relies totally on the primary driving force i.e cost benefit analysis of the patent search. The cost benefit analysis has to be done in context of improved search tools and increasing sophistication of text mining tools available today.