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Why doesn't Ambercite offer keyword searching?

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This is a question we get asked quite often, by people who are used to conventional keyword searching. 

In response, there is a number of good reasons why Ambercite does not offer keyword searching:


1) Because everyone else offers key word searching

There is a long list of both free and paid databases with quite sophisticated keyword seaching capabilities. Free and useful databases include Google Patent, Patent Lens, Espacenet, and the USPTO databases - and there some others that offer a mixture of free and subscription only functions, while others are purely subscription access only.  

Let's think about the above statement. Even though Ambercite is a paid subscription patent searching engine, we have just given you a list of free patent searching databases. Foolhardy perhaps ? Or maybe we are instead confident that we offer something valuable that is not found in any of the free, or for that manner, other subscription patent databases (and many of our paying clients also subscribe to other paying databases).


2) Because we offer a very different approach - not offered by anyone else - which because it is dfferent finds patents that others don't.

Rather than using keywords to find suggested patents, Ambercite instead finds similar patents to one or more starting patents using advanced and unique algorithms applied to our network of 50 million patent families connected by 150 million citation links*.  The most similar patents are ranked in order of predicted similarity, and include both previous known citations.

By using a unique approach, we end up with a unique of results, as suggested by the image below:


These additional patents bring the following additional benefits compared to keyword searching

  • A more comprehensive view of the patent landscape. Cluster Searching can find relevants that would otherwise be missed due to unexpected keywords or patent class codes - which are reasons for missed patents that can be surprisingly common. 
  • Lower risk for your clients and organisations, in term of reducing the risk of wasted R&D expenditure and patent filings, and Freedom To Operate
  • A greater understanding of the commerclal value of your patent

* 150 million opinions that two patents are similar - irrespective of whether they use the same keywords or class codes or not.


3) Because keyword searching can be a very slow and inefficient means of searching patents

Keyword searching can appear to be quick and simple in some keyword search engines, but only if you make certain assumptions about the keywords. These can sometimes give you a number of good hits - but what about the rest? (in other words, how many 'false negatives' have you missed?)

The alternative is to run a search with some many keyword terms that you are likely to capture the majority of the required patents - along with many other irrelevant patents as well ('false positives'). These are very rarely ranked in an order of relevance to your query. 

In practice many searchers do the latter - and then spending hours and hours of valuable sorting the wheat from the chaff. Which is time that could be spent doing many other things. 

In contrast, Cluster Searching provides a ranked list of results - you can review these starting with the most similar patents to the starting patents - these are most likely to be relevnat.



So three good reasons why Ambercite does not offer keyword searching.

But what if you do not know some good starting patents? Often in fact you do, for example:

  • the patents being litigated,
  • their best citations,
  • results from previous searches,
  • existing knowledge of the search area.

If you don't have any starting patents,  a simple search in the likes of Google patent can quickly find you some starting patents. Ambercite can quickly find you a whole lot more - going way beyond the patents you started with. And in a simple and ranked list with hyperlinks to furhter information. 

Ready to outsmart your competitors by using a more comprehensive and effcient searching system? And by doing so joining some of the world's leading patent owners? If so, please contact us today. 



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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.