Ambercite “Second Opinion Engine” – case study on highly litigated patent US6218930

Last week Ambercite released an improved version of Cluster Searching, which makes the review of results even easier by allowing the user to exclude already known patents – and produce and review results in minutes. This makes it an ideal “Second Opinion Engine”. Cluster Searching uses advanced network citation analysis to find similar patents to the patents you are looking at.

There are a number of applications for this, including patent litigation. There are of course many ways of looking for prior art, including the ‘crowd-sourcing’ techniques developed by Article One. So we wondered – how would the improved version of Cluster Searching work on a current Article One study?

At the date of publication of this blog, Article One were promoting a prior art search for US6218930, for a Apparatus and Method for Remotely Powering Access Equipment – or the simultaneous delivery of both power and data over an ethernet cable. 


They listed only 6 known prior art patents. They did not discuss who their client was, but a search on RPX shows that this patent is being asserted in 15 cases against 23 defendants – one of these defendants is probably the client. Article One requested prior art dated before March 2000.


What can Cluster Searching show us in this case?

The search query is very simple – we will use the following query which comprises the patent number itself, and its known direct prior art citations. We will also list the known prior art citations in the hide box (only some of the patents are shown here) to ensure that they are not shown in the results.  While we are only entering six patents into this ‘hide’ box, there is potential to enter (and therefore exclude) up to 2000 known patents or more. The overall process is shown below:


We will request up to 1000 of the most similar patents, using the query shown below.



The first half dozen results look like this, and there are 613 results in total. When using Cluster Searching, clicking on any of the blue dots will provide more details in either Google patents or Espacenet.



All of these patents look relevant to the subject matter. For reviewing purposes you might start with the top ranked patent, and then work your way downwards, perhaps using the patent titles to ensure that they are relevant. Not all patents listed will be relevant, but many are – including up to 610th place GB2356326  Providing power to Ethernet LAN connected telephone, filed in 1999.

You can also export all of these results to Excel – where they can be imported into other patent search engines you might use.


Want to try the Cluster Searching ‘Second Opinion engine’ for yourself?

Cluster Searching is a very fast and easy to use web application. Free demonstrations and confidential trials are available to qualified applicants – please contact us to arrange a short demonstration and trial. You may be surprised (and impressed) by just how much time and money you may save.

After the trial has finished, Cluster Searching is available to companies, organisations and individuals at a very competitive annual subscription – we are happy to discuss this in person.


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