Vive la Difference – how Automated Patent Searching differs from conventional searching


In recent blogs Ambercite has been promoting our newly developed Automated Search Reports. We have also produced a number of these for commercial clients, and speaking to a number of thought leaders in the world of patent searching and analysis about how the algorithms used in these reports differ from the processes used in other search processes. And in doing so, we hear this question a lot:

How do the results differ? Do you learn anything new with Automated Patent Search?

This led Tony Trippe of Patinformatics to propose a trial to directly compare the results of an Automated Patent Search to a conventional search. Ambercite is closely aligned with Australian IP law firm Griffith Hack, who run a comprehensive search department. So we asked a professional patent searcher to

  1. Take a patent that somebody might want to invalidate
  2. Run a conventional search process on this patent
  3. Report on the relevance of each patent found using this process

In the meantime, we ran one of our Automated Patent Searches on the same patent, and then the professional searcher would also rate these patents. In this case, the Automated Patent Search comprised of  the 10 most similar direct (known) backward citations combined with 59 not-cited prior art patents, or 69 patents in total (Categories D + E in the Trippe blog)

And what did we find? Tony’s blog contains the full answers to this, but some key results are shown below.

How relevant were the patents found by these two techniques ?

Searcher assessment of relevance of patents found

Standard keyword search (595 patents found)

Automated Patent search for 10 closest combined with 59 indirect prior art patents (69 patents in total)


47 (8%)

9 (13%)

Potentially relevant

128 (21%)

20 (29%)

Not relevant

418 (70%)

41 (59%)


So in other words, the 69 patents found by the Automated Search had a higher percentage of relevance (13% vs 8%) than the 595 patents found by the conventional patent search.

What was the overlap?

Just 9 patents were found in both the conventional patent search (595 patents in total)  and the Automated Patent Search (69 patent in total).

Both of the above results are shown in the image below.



Take home lesson

If you want to find all of the relevant prior art for a given patent, you should use both conventional patent searching and our Automated Patent Search


How can I order my own Automated Patent Search?

Automated patent searches are available upon request, from just $500 for the first patent searched  Lower prices are available for bulk engagements, across several patents in your portfolio. Case studies for Automated Patent Searches are found here.

Free samples may be available to some qualified users – please contact us for further details.

An API for bulk users is also available, and this would give you results in real time.

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