Top Tips for Prior Art Search in InnovationQ Plus

InnovationQ Tips Tags: InnovationQ Tips, Patent Research, Patent Searching

By: Devin Salmon, Patent Analyst, IP.com

As a Patent Analyst that uses InnovationQ Plus as my primary tool, I have identified things I do that help me to get my work done more efficiently. Here are my top three tips to help you.

Pay attention to the relevance curve

The relevance curve is one of your best tools to check how your query is working for you. It is found on the right-hand side of the result set and gives a visual representation of how many documents are at each star rating. If there are many 4 star results this often is a sign your concept is too broad and you will need to refine your query. So I often look here before I start checking the results list. A “good” curve to me will typically have well under 500 4 star results and hopefully, that number is more around less than 200. Then it will likely have thousands of 3-star results. If I have thousands of 4-star results then I know I need to rework my query rather than try to work through the documents in the list. Along with paying attention to the curve, once you have a good query and are getting the type of results you want you can add a relevance filter to limit the results to a set number for exports and reports.

Use a concept modifier

Besides just modifying the main query to get better results, I always add a concept modifier to tell the semantic engine what the most important concept is. In other words, I enter the main concept into the query, which includes many concepts or features and often defines the technology area or space, but then I add the concept modifiers to tell the engine this is the most important part to me. Examples of what I use for a concept modifier are key features or claim elements. Keep in mind that using a concept modifier may increase or decrease the size of your result set as it changes the relevancy of the documents of the result set, so this is more about getting the documents that have the feature I want to the top of the results than about limiting down my result set.

Harness the power of visualizations

The visualizations are fast and simple to use and can give ideas for what would be relevant filters or modifiers for your specific result set. They are interactive graphs that allow you to drill deeper by sorting results according to your unique strategy. They are designed to address many different search strategies and the strategy you choose will depend on your goals. Here are my favorite visualizations and how I use them to help get my work done.

Term Heat Map – The term heat map is useful for viewing the key concepts in the result set and identifying possible concept modifiers. A term showing lower in the chart may be a good modifier if it is directed towards your key concept of interest. This chart also gives a view of what the semantic engine is finding as for the most relevant concepts. If these concepts are not directed towards what you are searching for, you should modify your main concept.

CPC by Relevance – Using the CPC by Relevance chart you can identify the relevant CPCs and apply a filter from here to limit the search to a specific technology area. Or, you can use the Assignee by Relevance chart to see the key players and evaluate them as competitors or licensing targets. Additionally, the date charts may help you to identify trends or find specific date ranges to use in filters.

Semantic Map – I find the most use from the Semantic Map when I am working in a technology space that I am not very familiar with. It provides a visual representation of relevant documents and their connections. Results are delivered based on meanings within documents – not keyword matches – and displayed in a visual representation of how closely they are in meaning to your query and to one another. I use it to understand what some of the common terms are in a space and to identify common key features. This gives me a good idea of what’s already being done in a space so that I don’t spend much time digging for a feature that is well known in the industry.

Final bonus tip: When determining when to use a filter vs a concept modifier in InnovationQ – filters are best used when you are looking for something specific. Concept modifiers are better used to focus the result set on the key concept you are searching for within the broader technology space.

Those are my top tips as a patent analyst for getting the most out of InnovationQ Plus when doing prior art search.