New Google Product Is Patently Useful

    December 14, 2006
    WebProNews Staff

The minds at Google have taken the less-than-intuitive search process for finding patents in the USPTO database and made it as easy as their signature search service.

New Google Product Is Patently Useful
Searching For Patents The Google Way

The government always seems to make the process of getting from point A to point B a more difficult undertaking than Hannibal taking elephants through the Alps. Not to mention how they welcome their taxpaying visitors with as much enthusiasm as the Romans had for the arriving Carthaginians.

There has been some improvement on a general level with the relaunch of the portal FirstGov, which uses Vivisimo’s clustering technology to help people find what they need from among the voluminous stores of government data. It didn’t help with the patent search though.

Google has stepped up to make patent search a friendlier process. It is a beta product, with features like saving and printing patents planned for a later release.

A post on Google’s Official blog by software engineer Doug Banks noted how Patent Search functions like another Google product:

Google Patent Search uses much of the same technology that powers Google Book Search, so you can scroll through pages and zoom in on text and illustrations just like you can with books.

It’s a natural extension of our mission to make this public domain government information more easily accessible using Google’s search technology.

The search works best by querying for general concepts. Google gives some examples on the main patent search page, one of which is for “litter box.”

Clicking that brings up the patent summary, any accompanying drawings, and a list of other patents that reference the one being viewed. There is also a link to view the patent at the USPTO website.

The litter box patent example is for people in cars, and not cats. And it’s an under-the-seat trash can, not a substitute for a rest area on the interstate.

Google’s new search indexes over seven million patents. They note in a FAQ how recent patents issued in the past few months may not be in the index yet. Also, they only index patents, not patent applications like this one on Information Retrieval Based on Historical Data.

Can you guess the company that submitted that application?


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David Utter is a staff writer for WebProNews covering technology and business.