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Is Family Cluster Searching better than Semantic searching?

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In an earlier blog we compared the earlier version of Cluster Searching to some semantic search options, based on the round number patent US9,000,000, and concluded that it was.

We have just released a family based version of Cluster Searching - which is an opportunity to compare this version to both the earlier (now replaced) version and also the semantic search engine.

And what did we find?

The graph below compares the numbers of features found for Family Cluster Searching, the earlier Cluster Searching, and some semantic searching options.


  • This shows that Family Cluster Searching is improved over the earlier Cluster Searching (and much better in usability). This improvement is what we expected - the data in Family Cluster is more robust
  • But both are better than the other search engines tested.


How we did it

The earlier blog contains details of how we did the initial analysis. Essentially we counted a list of key features in the most similar patents to US9,000,000.

For each analysis we created a table of these key features. This table below shows the closest five patents as found by Family Cluster Searching.


Patent, in ranked order  of similaritty

Patent title

Collection of rainwater for car windscreen washing?

Chemical treatment of the water?

Cartridge system for chemicals?


1) US5669986

Replenishment of vehicle windshield washer solvent using rainwater





2) US3738575

Automatic windshield washer reservoir filling and mixing means





3) US6266842

Windshield cleaning device with liquid collection





4) WO2007059926

Window wiping water system





5) US9162912

Water purifier





Total points




This in turn was based on this simple query found here



Maybe you should use both?

Ultimately I think the debate of which is best is the wrong question. Patent searching is a serious business - In my view serious serious searchers should use every decent tool available ot them. I personally use Family Cluster Searching alongside some of the unnamed tools used in this example - and I don't see this as a contradiction at all.

As an analogy, it is like having a debate about which tool is best for a carpenter to use - a hammer or drill?. When of course the best answer is - 'whatever is best to do the job in hand' - and most likely both when building houses. 


Would you like to learn more?

For further information on this analyis, including the other search engines tested, please contact us

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Mike first developed an interest in patent data when working as a research scientist, and deepened this interest when working as an IP manager which led to his role at Griffith Hack. Mike has published in the areas of chemical engineering, patent management, the value of patents and the use of patent data in in a wide range of publications and forums, including the international journals Les Nouvelles, and Managing Intellectual Property.