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Inspec for Patent-Related Searching: 

Inspec for Patent-Related Searching

What Is Inspec?: 

What Is Inspec? Multidisciplinary Database Physics Electrical & Electronics Engineering Computing & Control Engineering Information Technology Manufacturing, Production & Mechanical Engineering New 2004, 2005 Wide range of cross-disciplinary topics


Inspec Database Over 9.9 million records (August 2006) Over 500,000 to be added in 2006 1898 to date Over 3,800 journals and 3,000 other publications Includes over 140 Open Access Journals Full text linking via DOIs Up to 60% of current records


Document Types Others include: Books/Book Chapters Reports Patents (1968/9-1976) Dissertations


Inspec Sample Record Bibliographic Information


Inspec Sample Record Abstract & Value-Added Indexing From the Inspec Thesaurus which contains >17,500 terms


Where do Inspec & the Archive fit into patent searches? Inspec is the Premier non-patent literature (NPL) source for: state-of-the-art searches current awareness & competitor intelligence identify potential licencees & infringers prior art searches due diligence validity challenges & oppositions


State-of-the-Art Search the Inspec & Inspec Archive databases by subject: Use Controlled Terms & Classifications. Use Inspec Treatment Codes to identify review/overview/bibliography type documents.


Search example: Locate non-patent literature relating to reviews of laser tuning for a state-of-the-art search. This example illustrates searching broadly for a subject using controlled terms and classification codes. Search in the Basic Index Free format, random display of title and controlled terms Note the Controlled Term “Laser Tuning”


Limit a search to publication years 2000 through to 2005 The top 10 most frequently occurring Controlled Terms are displayed automatically To confirm that Laser Tuning is the key Controlled Term for the subject area, analyse the whole or a part of the search results using ZOOM.


View the Inspec Thesaurus online in order to check the Date of Introduction of the Controlled Term before using it. Suggested classifications BT Broader Term CC Classification Code DA Date of Introduction NT Narrower Term PT Prior Term RT Related Term UF Used for Term USE Use Term


To identify the state-of-the-art in a technology, you could limit your search results to records with the Inspec Treatment Codes for Bibliography or for General Review.

Current Awareness: 

Current Awareness Use Inspec to: Identify exploitation opportunities such as potential licencees & potential infringers. Competitor intelligence Who is doing what, where & how. Forecast technology trends and gaps in the market place. Identify collaborators. Identify potential solutions to technical problems. Note: Non-patent literature often discloses new ideas up to 6 months prior to the first corresponding patent publication!


To monitor all new non-patent literature documents on the topic of laser tuning and related technologies, set up a weekly SAVE ALERT for new records from your search. To identify from which organisations these documents originate, analyse the corporate source field with ZOOM. To limit the display results, e.g. to organisations based in France, combine set 4 with a search of France in the Corporate Source field, then use ZOOM.

Prior Art: 

Prior Art Use Inspec to: Identify what has been done before (pre-research stage). Avoid repeating previous work. Avoid unnecessary R&D cost. Avoid future costly litigation. Locate discussions of research failures. If you can not find a patent or patent application for a technology, there may be a good reason.


Search for non-patent literature documents on laser tuning and related techniques that operate at 700nm. This search illustrates the use of the Inspec Numerical Data Indexing. EINS GEM has an online version of the Inspec Numerical Data Indexing thesaurus, use the PHP (Physical Properties) field. Option 1: You may limit a search to all records where a particular physical property has been indexed and hence is of high relevance to the concepts discussed in the original document.


Numerical Data Indexing allows precise but standardised searching of quantities, units & numerical values, e.g. wavelength has its’ own field code WVL, is always indexed in meters and in an exponential format. Note: Inspec Numerical Data Indexing was introduced in 1987.


Option 2: You may limit a search to all records where a particular physical property value or range has been indexed. In this case, a 700 nm wavelength. Note: Inspec covers over 50 percent of the whole PCT Minimum Documentation List of Journals. Limit the search result by Publication Year to identify the prior art, i.e. what was known before a particular date.

Due Diligence: 

Due Diligence Use Inspec to: Identify all published non-patent literature originating from the target organisation. Are the prolific authors still with the target? Have they and their expertise moved on? Identify published non-patent literature that could be used to invalidate the target organisation’s patent portfolio. Has an author from the target published before the associated patent priority date? Has another organisation published a disclosure of the same patented invention before the associated patent priority date? If the target does not have patent coverage of the technology of its key products – does someone else the hold rights?


Search example 1: Locate documents authored by Marconi employees that relate to SONET or SDH. Start by searching the acronyms (SONET, SDH) and full names. 20 records for Marconi and related companies with SONET or SDH in the Basic Index – but have we missed documents?


Extend the search with Inspec Classification Codes to search more broadly for optical networks in general. For our search example, this retrieves a further 399 records! The Inspec Classification Codes retrieve records where SONET or SDH techniques, equipment or “next generation” techniques are described but the terms SONET and SDH are not included in the record.


Who are the most prolific authors? Do they still work for Marconi or one of its related companies? If we had more time in this short presentation, we could search the key names and analyse their current Corporate Source. Why do this? You would not like to buy a company only to discover that the inventors of its key technologies have moved to a competitor.


Search Example 2: Locate publications relating to erbium-doped fibre amplifiers. Who is also active in this field? Controlled Terms and Classifications together ensure comprehensive retrieval of relevant records. Key word searching in the Basic Index allows retrieval of terms not yet in the Inspec Thesaurus, e.g. EDFA. Chemical Indexing gives very precise results. Each component of a relevant inorganic system is indexed with a role. Here erbium has the role “dopant”. Combine the answer sets to give all possible relevant records.


Analyse the Corporate Source field with ZOOM to see who else is active in this field who may have intellectual property rights to the technology.

Validity Challenges & Oppositions: 

Validity Challenges & Oppositions Use Inspec & the Inspec Archive to: Identify prior publications by the applicant/holder or by third parties. A familiar line of attack for Europeans against US patent applicants/holders. Identify “sleeping beauties”. The Inspec Archive contains records for documents covering ideas that may not have been realisable, or may have been deemed too preposterous at the time which could be used now in validity challenges and oppositions.

Validity Challenges & Oppositions: 

Use Inspec & the Inspec Archive to: Source published versions of the fundamental teaching on established technologies now missing from later editions of textbooks. “Every engineer knows that” – but where is it published? Identify experts. Again the EINS GEM ZOOM command can be used on the Author field to identify prolific publishers within a subject area. Validity Challenges & Oppositions


Search Example: Locate records relating to the pseudo-binary III-V semiconductor aluminium gallium arsenide. Inspec Chemical Indexing allows non-stoichiometric systems to be easily searched. For validity/opposition searches – use the publication year field to limit your search results to before the priority date of the patent under investigation. Note the Inspec role SS for a system of > 2 components. BIN is used for binary system, EL for element, SUR for surface, ADS for adsorbate, and INT for interface.


Patent Documents in Inspec Hidden treasure 20568 bibliographic records with abstracts 1968/1969 to 1976 only US and UK basics and equivalents only Selection policy Lost in the mists of time! Benefit May pre-date and give searchable abstracts for earlier patents than other databases e.g. DWPI, US PTO May include original (non-English language) filing details)


Sample Inspec Patent Record Patent bibliographic information: numbers & dates


Original document front page for US3906154, Inspec Accession Number 880550


Summary Inspec is the premier non-patent literature source because of its: Subject coverage. Document types included Journals, conferences, books, reports, dissertations (& some patents). Date range and updating 1898 to date with weekly updates. Value-added indexing.


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