What are hidden patents? Why you should care - and how to find them
June 27 2018: The overwhelming majority of patent searches are done using searches based on search queries built on a combination of keywords and class codes (and sometimes owner names as well).
There are many good reasons for this, and this will likely continue well into the future.
But will this give you all that you are looking for?
I would suggest not. The issue with conventional searching is that this requires assumptions about what keywords and class codes (and company names) you should be using. And no matter how careful you are on these assumptions, there is always a likelihood that some relevant patents will get be missed because, for a range of reasons:
- Different applicants preferring different terminology. This is particularly prelevant for mechanical and IT inventions, but is also found in other areas of technology.
- Different patent attorneys preferring different terminology - and sometimes deliberately, to make the patent harder to find.
- CPC codes are so varied so that sometimes a given invention can truly belong into two very different classes are essentially are the same thing.
The net result of these imperfections is that highly relevant patents can be 'hidden in plain sight'. Yes they are published and discoverable - but remain undiscovered in your searches. These hidden patent can matter - they might affect commercial decisions that are based on the results of your searches.
So what to do?
A tactic used by some is to search using a very broad query that can bring in thousands of patents, and hope that all of the relevant patents are found. But these searches can take hours and hours to review, and still not be complete.
The alternative tactic used by clients of Ambercite is to recognise that conventional searching, by itself, is not enough. These companies instead supplement conventional searching with Ambercite searching.
These clients generally apply Ambercite searching:
- At the beginning of the search process - they might be asked to search for a prior art for a given patent, for example
- After a conventional search - they add in the best patents they have found, and check to see what else is out there.
While an additional step can seem like more work, in many cases it turns out to be less work than using a convention search alone. The reason for this is that Ambercite can be so effective that it takes away the need to spend hours reading irrelevant patents found in very broad conventional searches.
The AI powered Ambercite Ai and the visually interactive Amberscope are both available in two levels:
- A trial version - you simply need to sign up online and start using. No payment is required
- The full subscriber version, which gives you much greater capability.
But even the trial version can be enough to find hidden patents that can supplement a conventional search, as is shown in case studies provided below.
Want to find hidden patents yourself? Without spending hours and hours in conventional patent searching?
Sign up for and start using Ambercite, via the link to the right: