While tech-driven search providers generate the most thorough and precise patent searches, not all search technology is created equal. We recommend considering these three key questions when selecting a supplier:
- 1. How easy is it to order searches—are their systems secure, transparent, and collaborative?
If your provider is managing patent searches by email, you could miss vital opportunities to undertake fact-finding discussions with your patent researchers, leverage previous search requests, track costs, and retain oversight of patent search projects.
Ideally, you should choose to work with a specialist patent search provider who provides a secure, organized platform for receiving and tracking search requests, as well as a dedicated point of contact in their team. The portal will ensure that sensitive data remains confidential, that previous searches are stored to minimize duplication of work, and that you can track and report on your deadlines and budget effectively. Access to a dedicated point of contact will ensure prompt answers to your queries and engender a collaborative approach between your search provider and your in-house team or external legal advisors.
Be sure to ask how the provider deals with rush orders or any other special needs you may have. Sometimes, you need great results with a short turn-around, or you have a specific process that needs to be followed. See if they can deliver and adapt to your preferred processes!
- 2. What types of resources do they have available in terms of databases and people—can they handle volume and deadlines cost-effectively?
To find a provider you can trust to deliver quality patent searches consistently, you want to look for a few key things:
- Expertise: Conversations with the search team should give you a pretty good indication of their experience. Don’t settle for anything less than five years of experience in your technical domain. For example, Questel has search specialists with 20-30 years of experience searching in fast-moving sectors, such as chemistry, bio sequences, semiconductors, standard essential patents, and more.
- Technology: Ask questions about the technology your provider uses, as the quality of the platform is crucial to generating quality results. With a database of over 100 million patents, 17 million designs, and 150 million non-patent literature (including clinical trials, projects, and scientific documents) and frequent updates, Orbit Intelligence leads the industry in patent data quality and update frequency.
- AI: Artificial Intelligence is shaking up the search industry by enabling providers to be more expansive and efficient in their searching. If your provider has no AI capabilities in their platform (such as our Orbit Intelligence add-on AI-Classifier), you may not be getting the best results at the best price.
Today’s search providers should be able to build complex and precise queries and use AI-powered keyword suggestions and semantic search to efficiently curate large and multilingual datasets to deliver relevant search results in minutes rather than days, saving time and potentially huge search costs.
- 3. What types of deliverables do they offer, and how is their use of technology improving their service?
Does your provider take a ‘one-size-fits-all' approach to their reports? Do you spend a lot of time looking for the relevant part? Or does your provider deliver reports in your preferred format, depending on your needs or that of your end client, with the relevant parts highlighted?
Some search providers use formats that help them to generate reports quickly but with little regard to the end user, resulting in poor formatting, filler or fluff, and irrelevant or incomplete data. When comparing providers, look for:
- A concise summary of the focus of the search;
- A clear list of the search queries and strategies;
- Ranked results with notes specific to each reference; Bibliographic information for each reported reference;
- For law firms, the ability to customize the reports for each client;
- Secure links to download PDF copies of all US references and foreign references with machine translations; and
- Clear channels to contact the search team with questions or feedback on the search or results.
Tech-enabled service providers should create reports that meet your exact requirements and provide a secure portal for you to store and rank search results for future use.
6 Reasons to Choose Questel for Patent Search
Drawing on our decades of global patent search, across many languages and technical fields, Questel’s patent search services and specialist search technologies ease the research burden on busy in-house teams and their external law firm advisors.
Here are six great reasons to choose Questel for patent search today:
- 1. Industry-leading data: With a database of more than 100 million patents, 17 million designs, and 150 million non-patent literature (including clinical trials, projects, and scientific documents) and frequent updates, Questel’s Orbit Intelligence search software leads the industry in patent data quality and update frequency.
- 2. Powerful, flexible, and customizable search technology: Search our extensive databases by families or publications using keywords, classifications, assignees, inventors, countries, UPC opt-outs, representatives, citations, and more. Collaborate and analyze results and set up alerts by technology, assignee, and legal status alerts.
- 3. Continuous development: We are continually investing in new technologies, adding new functionality to our IP Intelligence Software, such as US examiner statistics and EPO families by priority document, including divisionals and continuations.
- 4. Artificial intelligence: We have embraced the potential of artificial intelligence (AI) through our secure AI-based tools, including semantic search using AI, machine translations and ChatGPT (find out more about our AI patent classification module AI-Classifier).
- 5. Data security: Our search processes and software are ISO 27001 certified for data security to ensure the confidentiality of your patent searches.
- 6. Dedicated support: We believe that it is the combination of our people and our tools that makes a difference to our clients. That’s why the support team on our global helpdesk is reachable by email and phone whenever you need them.