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Mike Lloyd

Mike Lloyd


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.

Patent Searching can be a deceptively difficult, and yet vitally important exercise. There are over 70 million patents out there, and while there are very powerful keyword and class codes search engines that you can use, the results are only as good as:   

  • The keywords and class codes that you search by
  • The keywords and class codes used by the people who filed or examined the patents you are looking for. No matter how good your choices are, you are also reliant on these other people.

Millions or even hundreds of millions of dollars may depend on the outcome of patent searching -  due to the risk of unwanted litigation or wasted R&D and commercialisation costs. Clearly as patent searchers  we need to do the best possible search in the time that we have available. The same applies to patent examiners - the right search results can have large economic consequences on both the patent applicants and their competitors.

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6

Since its release in 2015 Ambercite’s Cluster Searching tool has picked up a wide range of users around the world who are impressed by its ability to quickly find patents missed by conventional searching processes. It has been used in over 6000 searches to date. 

These users have also provided some very valuable feedback to Ambercite, and part of this feedback is that these users sometimes end up seeing patents they have already seen in previous searches. This can slow down the reviewing of the results that Cluster Searching provides,  and can be inefficient.

It is of course impossible for us to know what patents that our users have already seen – but they will probably know this themselves. For this reason Ambercite has just upgraded Cluster Searching with a new feature that allows users to ignore previously seen results from the results that Cluster Searching shows. This operates through a second data entry box, shown below.

IgnoreBox2.jpg

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A client recently asked 'can you provide some examples where Cluster searching efficiently identified relevant citations, which were not identified using existing tools?'.

This is a great question. I was running a demonstration case the other day, and this was a perfect example.

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What is a super patent?

Back in 2008 Parchomovsky and Wagner of the University of Pennsylvania published an excellent paper "Patent Portfolios', found here. In this paper they introduced the concept of a "Super-Patent", which they defined as:

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Flextronics AP LLC has in recent years developed a portfolio of patents for connected cars. This includes 79 patent families including 11 patents.

In the blog found here, patent analyst Dr Alex Lee of TechIPM (Boston) reviews these patents and uses the LIcensing Potential metric developed by Ambercite to identify the companies that Flextronics may  be able to licence their patents to. This list is headed by Cisco and AT&T.

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Who has the best portfolio of patents for smartphone patents Near Field Communication - and who might they license to?

These are questions asked by patent analyst Dr Alex Lee of TechIPM, of Boston. Dr Lee has combined his detailed knowledge of this area along with the Licensing Potential analysis developed by Ambercite to write the blog titled NFC Patents for Smartphone Mobile Payments Licensing Potential Assessment

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Demand for inter parte reviews IPRs has been three times higher than the USPTO expected, with 3,277 IPR reviews filed in the last 3 years. This was according to a recent blog published by the director of the USPTO. The director also pointed out that to date only 12 % of claims, to be challenged in the contested patents (4,496 out of 38,462), have been invalidated in a written decision. Other claims were either not challenged, cancelled, resolved by settlement or upheld. This is a interesting contrast to the sometimes held view of the PTAB as a 'patent death squad'.

The 12% ‘success rate’ suggests that the IPR process is far from a walkover. The IPR process allows the petitioner to submit either new or known prior art. Known (or previously cited) prior art is easy to find, but in some cases this can involve reviewing a long lists of prior art citations.

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We have had some questions recently from the likes of universities and even some companies about why they should look in the patent literature when assessing inventions,  when they could look in the scientific literature instead.

To me this is a false dichotomy – ideally a diligent searcher would look at both. But putting this aside – how do they compare? To help answer this question, I have prepared the table below:

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Verve has just reported that Segway, maker of the Human Transporter

 

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Most people reading this have an interest in patent searching. I remember the first time, working as a development engineer, I was asked to search the patent literature. This was a long time before the advent of readily available online searching, and so I found myself reading through a printed collection of relevant patents. I was fascinated that this vast collection of information was available to me, and many years later I still am.

Nonetheless, all of us have clients or managers and need to justify what we do. So how can we justify the cost of a patent search?

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