Find better patents even faster! All new “Family Cluster Searching” is now launched


Here at Ambercite, we are very excited to announce that we have upgraded our existing Cluster Searching to the much improved “Family Cluster Searching”. Below we list what are the benefits to you and common FAQs. 


The benefits to you: Why did we we change to new “Family Cluster Searching”?

With over 14,000 searches behind it, Cluster Searching is a proven success. However Ambercite believes in continuous improvement, and so we pleased to report that Cluster Searching has now transformed to Family Cluster Searching.

The former Cluster Searching was based on single patent to single patent citation connections, for example US6123456 “Catalytic hydrogenation to remove gas from x-ray tube cooling oil” is linked to US5086449  “Debubbler system for X-ray tubes” via a citation.

With Family Cluster Searching we moved to patent family to patent family connections. We have done this to give you the following benefits:

1) Save time! More easy! The flexibility to use any family member number. For example, entering the Apple patent number DE202015006141 will produce exactly the same search result as its US equivalent US20160062541. We know that many patent searchers like to use patent numbers from their own jurisdictions, if possible. Family Cluster Searching gives you the flexibility to do this, and save you time in your daily workflow.

2) Improved insight and even more accurate prior art and licensing analysis. By combining all of the citations from a patent family, we can ensure more comprehensive analysis. This helps you to uncover unknown and hard to find prior art even more easily, and we provide you one similarity, one importance score (Amberscore) and one Licencing Potential score per family. 

3) Avoidance of repeating different family members (from the same family) in the results. While this was not overly common in the old Cluster Searching, this will be avoided completely in Family Cluster Searching, helping you to save time!


How does it differ in use from the old Cluster Searching?

Besides the above benefits from Family Cluster Searching, essentially the user interface is just as easy to use as previously. The only big difference from a user perspective is that the time filter now works on the Priority Date, rather than the Filing Date. This was preferred by the majority of our clients:



How are patent families represented?

For a family with multiple family members, we need to a make a decision who should represent the family in the list of results we display. After consulting with our clients we have decided on the following hierarchy. Granted US patents tend to be the most valuable, and so we will show these first, followed by the WO family member, if there is no granted US patent. In future developments of Cluster Searching we will include a list of all known family members in the results.


What type of patent families are used? How do you define family?

We use EPO Espacenet patent families.


Is the data up to date?

Yes, and we plan to keep it up to date.


Does it work on Chinese, Japanese* and Korean patents?

Yes it does – BUT you need to include the kind code as well. With the kind code matching that listed in Espacenet – with or without the brackets, for example as shown below:


By the way, the same requirement to include kind codes also applies to patents from: 

  • Finland
  • Denmark
  • Poland
  • Austria
  • Belgium
  • Netherlands
  • Norway
  • Bulgaria
  • Slovakia
  • Iceland

Why these countries? Unfortunately these countries have patent numbering systems where a given patent number can lead to more than one invention, depending on the kind code. 

We should also note that our coverage is limited to patents found in Espacenet. While this is very comprehensive, it may not contain all available patent publications.

* At this stage JPH and JPS patents are not supported – but we are currently working towards including these. We apologize for this.


Does the change apply to AmberScope as well?

We will shortly switch AmberScope to match the data in Family Cluster Searching.


Will this affect Similarity and AmberScore values?

Similarity and AmberScore values are both based on citations links – and as such are dynamic metrics. These certainly will have changed with the family data and updated data, but the relative ranking of different patents should be fairly unchanged if the technology field did not change much.

The only big difference to before: Under the old Cluster Searching, the two aformentioned family members DE202015006141 and US20160062541 would have produced different AmberScore values. But not under Family Cluster Searching. These two numbers will produce identical AmberScore values. And so they should. They are the same patent family, for the same invention.

What does it mean by ‘Duplicate’ in the list of searched patents?

Consider the patent search shown below, for two different members of the same patent family:



What results will this produce? Take a look below:



The reason the US patent is regarded as a ‘Duplicate’ is because it is part of the same patent family as the DE patent (more precisely, it shares a patent family with any earlier listed patent number) and so we ignore it.

This is a big difference to the previous version of Cluster Searching, where we encouraged using different family members as they could produce different results. This is not necessary any more and will likely save our users a lot of time.


What if I can’t find my preferred family member?

If it is in Espacenet we are bound to cover it. We have extensively tested Family Cluster Searching in the US, WO, almost all European jurisdictions, Australia, NZ, Mexico, Canada, Taiwan, South Africa, China, Russia, South Korea, Singapore, Malaysia, and Japan. These jurisdictions would cover the vast majority of patents published today, particular patents published with citation data.


What if no citation links are listed?

Consider a search for ZA9405199 show below.


Note that it has an AmberScore of 0 – which means it will not have any citation links.

If we look at the same patent in Espacnet, also no citation links are shown. Our system is only as good as the citation data available to us.  

Citation data may be missing because the relevant patent office has not published any patent citations. AND there are no family members in any patent office with published citations, forward or backward. Both factors apply to this ZA patent.

What does this all mean in practice?

You can now “Find better patents even faster”


How can I use Family Cluster Searching?

Family Cluster Searching has replaced the previous Cluster Searching at the existing location. Registered users can start using it straight away, logging in with their existing accounts.

Other users can contact us for a free trial, even if you already have tried the previous Cluster Searching. We are happy to set up a second short trial for you to see the benefits and avancements of Family Cluster Searching for yourself.

We think you will be as impressed by Family Cluster Searching as we are!


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