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Google Develops Prior Art Finder

By - Source: Google | B 13 comments

Positive news about the U.S. patent system today is a rare find, but not all hope is lost.

Google has put its search technology to good use and has extended its patent search site with a "Prior Art Finder". The implication is, of course, to help those who are filing patents to credit appropriately and help them define their patent and judge whether they should really file the patent they have in mind.

Another implication is a much more robust defense against patent trolls that acquire old patents and attempt to monetize them via patent infringement lawsuits. The Prior Art Finder invades the territory of expertise typically held by law firms that specialize on patent law, but holds the potential to level the playing for those who do not have the necessary resources researching patents.

"In a blog post, Google Engineering Manager Jon Orwant said that Google's "hope is that this tool will give patent searchers another way to discover information relevant to a patent application, supplementing the search techniques they use today." He promised that Google "will be refining and extending the Prior Art Finder as [Google] develop a better understanding of how to analyze patent claims and how to integrate the results into the workflow of patent searchers."

Conceivably, NPEs - non practicing entities, a common euphemism for patent trolls - can take streamline their businesses with the tool as well. According to Patent Freedom, there are currently 43 known NPEs that hold more than 100 patents in the U.S. The largest company is Intellectual Ventures, founded by former Microsoft CTO Nathan Myhrvold, which holds an estimated 10,000 to 15,000 patents. Round Rock Research has 3,652 patents and Rockstar Consortium 3,428.

 

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  • 20 Hide
    hotroderx , August 31, 2012 5:33 AM
    I can already see the headline now "Apple Sues Google Prior Art Finder"

    Reason because Apple feels Google is picking on them and unfair business practices.
  • 16 Hide
    Yuka , August 31, 2012 4:07 AM
    Well played, Google! Well played indeed.

    Cheers!
  • 16 Hide
    TheViper , August 31, 2012 4:11 AM
    This would have saved me thousands paid to a patent attorney who still missed a prior art patent which led me to get my patent rejected.

    Never again.
Other Comments
  • 16 Hide
    Yuka , August 31, 2012 4:07 AM
    Well played, Google! Well played indeed.

    Cheers!
  • 16 Hide
    TheViper , August 31, 2012 4:11 AM
    This would have saved me thousands paid to a patent attorney who still missed a prior art patent which led me to get my patent rejected.

    Never again.
  • -1 Hide
    ricardok , August 31, 2012 4:21 AM
    more than 100?? Bet it's 100k..
  • 3 Hide
    tolham , August 31, 2012 4:24 AM
    muwahahahahahahahaha, that's usin yer noggin.
  • 0 Hide
    Anonymous , August 31, 2012 5:28 AM
    wtf?!! theviper - Did you sue that goof? Why did you pay a lawyer? They probably sent the work to a patent searcher and charged you 3x the fee.
  • 4 Hide
    kronos_cornelius , August 31, 2012 5:30 AM
    This is great !
  • 20 Hide
    hotroderx , August 31, 2012 5:33 AM
    I can already see the headline now "Apple Sues Google Prior Art Finder"

    Reason because Apple feels Google is picking on them and unfair business practices.
  • 16 Hide
    builder4 , August 31, 2012 7:54 AM
    In a fit of irony, next year Apple will file a patent for prior art finders, and it will be granted.
  • 1 Hide
    s3anister , August 31, 2012 7:56 AM
    This is interesting but IBM's Watson has already done this with medical patents which resulted in Watson finding 2.5 million unique patents which it then went on to discover the earliest patentee for each compound and uploaded its results to the U.S. National Institute of Health. As such there has been speculation of IBM moving to do this in other fields of patents as well (ie. tech sector).

    IBM BAO strategic IP insight platform (SIIP): http://www-935.ibm.com/services/us/gbs/bao/siip/
  • 0 Hide
    jossrik , August 31, 2012 8:20 AM
    Would be interesting to know if it covers trademarks as well. The band I'm in needs a name and everything we come up with has been trademarked all ready, but the bands that trademarked the names are no longer together/playing/releasing albums/touring. I'd hate to have to buy a trademark, but it's starting to look like that's what we're gonna need to do.
  • 0 Hide
    samkl , August 31, 2012 2:42 PM
    That's a very useful tool. I doubt it will have any reasonable effects on big corps. But it will surely disrupt patent lawyers/agents scalping small businesses and startup entrepreneurs.

    All patent lawyers I worked with, always say don't do any prior art search. I assume it's because they dont want to lose your cheque.
    Good job Google!
    Samkl
  • 1 Hide
    drizzo4shizzo , August 31, 2012 5:52 PM
    And then there's the Beavis and Butthead band name generator.

    Which will yeild such gems as "Screaming Monkey Stick"

  • 0 Hide
    madooo12 , September 1, 2012 4:28 PM
    so the article says trolls hold more than 100 patents then says one has 10,000-15,000 patents