This year (2021) I created and published another free browser extension called Excerpt with Link, which copies selected text and the associated webpage link (URL) to the clipboard. This provides a quick and simple way to cite website text. Options are also offered to determine how to format the text and link for pasting. This extension is not patent-focused, though I find it handy when citing indications of potential use in patent reviews and for referencing documentation sources. The extension is currently available for both Google Chrome and Microsoft Edge. If there is demand, I’ll consider porting to Mozilla Firefox as well.
Try it out to expedite your text citations. Check out the screenshots below to see how the tool works.
Excerpt with Link is an additional browser extension you can add to your patent analysis tool arsenal, along with Patent Claims Analyzer, Patent Assignments, and Open Google Patents, all of which have been updated recently to add various enhancements.
The Chrome browser extension Patent Claims Analyzer is currently one of the most popular browser add-on tools focused on enhancing and expediting patent-related work, with well over 1,000 weekly users.
Two other popular patent analysis browser extensions I’ve created and used over the past several years are the Patent Assignments tool and the Open Google Patents tool, with each currently being leveraged by over 200 patent experts per week.
I am pleased to announce that I recently made enhancements to both tools, such as improving handling of text within text input boxes, adding support of US patent application serial numbers in the Patent Assignments tool, improving memory utilization, and reducing extension permissions.
Most importantly, both extensions have been ported to two additional web browsers — Microsoft Edge and Mozilla Firefox. In fact, as of this writing these two extensions are the only extensions in the respective extension stores dedicated to patent work. I understand that not everyone uses Google Chrome, particularly corporate users who have IT restrictions on software use. Therefore, by porting these two extensions to additional browsers, I hope that you are able to leverage the functionality which hundreds of patent experts have enjoyed for years in Chrome.
The Patent Assignments extension provides USPTO patent assignment information for any selected text, such as a selected company name or a patent number. This solution allows you to quickly look up any US patent assignments for a given company name, US patent number, US pre-grant publication number, or US patent application serial number in the USPTO patent assignment database.
The Open Google Patents extension allows you to quickly open Google Patents for a selected patent identifier. Select a patent identifier in text, then open the context menu and select “Open Google Patents” from the menu.
I have released a big update to the free Chrome browser extension “Patent Claims Tree” which was first published back in 2012. The latest version of this tool is called “Patent Claims Analyzer” to reflect richer functionality and includes a number of new features and enhancements that I find handy during patent analysis, including:
There is an added ability to hide dependent claims
It is possible to show independent claims text for ease of referencing claims while simultaneously reading the patent specification
For Google Patents you can select an independent claim to scroll the webpage to that claim
A copy option copies text for a selected independent claim for convenience in pasting elsewhere
There is an optional “Save as Chart” feature that creates a pre-populated claim chart document — this works best for Google Patents
Settings functionality and flow is improved
The Patent Claims Analyzer tool is a Chrome browser extension that displays patent claims information for all patent claims listed on a current webpage, such as:
Independent claim numbers
Independent claim word count
Independent claim type (best effort)
Independent claim text
Dependent claim numbers
Priority date (Google Patents only)
Several helpful links, such as USPTO Assignments, USPTO Maintenance info, Global Dossier, Espacenet, EPO Patent Register, EPO Federated Register, Google Patents Prior Art Finder, and more
The tool provides interactive features, such as:
Hide/Show dependent claims
Show/Hide independent claim text
Copy independent claim text
Scroll to claim in webpage (US patents in Google Patents only)
Export pre-filled claim chart
Select the red claims tree icon on the right side of the address bar in the Chrome browser to see a patent claims tree and associated details.
Currently supported on the following websites (at least partially):
Google Patents (.com, .de, .fr, .co.uk, .se, .ca, co.in, co.nz currently — send me requests for additional countries). Currently US, EP, WO, and CA patent documents are handled. A future update will also handle documents from other jurisdictions such as DE.
I do my best to present the claims trees and information correctly, but I cannot guarantee results because the supported websites are dynamic and often changing — so PLEASE LET ME KNOW OF ANY ISSUES YOU ENCOUNTER. The extension is provided ‘As-Is’ without any express or implied warranty of any kind.
Privacy: Note that no information is transmitted from the extension — all webpage data handling is done only at your local browser in the extension. This and other Chrome extensions from Wolf Mountain IP are provided free for use for the benefit of fellow members of the patent community.
Multiple dependent claims are not currently fully supported. Also, only claims in English are currently fully supported. Some basic French and German handling is provided.
Visited links on Google Patents pages are highlighted, facilitating review projects.
It can be somewhat tricky to accurately estimate when an issued US patent should expire. Nowadays, there are plenty of software solutions that automatically perform this calculation so you don’t have to. For example, AcclaimIP provides the calculated patent expiration date. But if you do not have access to such a solution, fear not — you need not calculate the expiration manually. The USPTO provides a Microsoft Excel spreadsheet called “Patent Term Calculator” with associated instructions — you just need to find the indicated information and input it into the spreadsheet to have the expiration date calculated.
According to the USPTO:
The United States Patent and Trademark Office does not calculate expiration dates for patents. In response to patent owner and public inquiry, the USPTO is providing a downloadable patent term calculator as a resource to help the public estimate the expiration date of a patent. The calculator can be used to estimate the expiration dates of utility, plant, or design patents. The calculator contains prompts to enter specific information related to the patent in order to help in estimating expiration dates. [Link]
Today I published a new Chrome browser extension called “Google Patents Widescreen” that makes Google Patents (patents.google.com/patent/) much more readable. The left-side search column is hidden, the text area is widened, and images are provided at greater resolution for readability.
A resolution width of 1920 works very well, though all narrower widths also provide improved readability.
Once it’s installed in Chrome, you don’t need to do anything — all Google Patents patent pages (with this syntax: patents.google.com/patent/) will automatically be modified for alternate presentation.
Here’s the different in presentation from the normal view versus the extension’s enhanced view:
Patent analysis often involves investigating how a particular solution functions in order to determine the potential for use of a given patented claim, and sometimes this investigation entails analyzing wirelessly-communicated data.
In an earlier post I described how to capture IP packets sent to/from wireless devices by using a Windows OS computer as a wireless hotspot together with Wireshark, a packet capture and analysis software tool. While that technique works well for capturing and analyzing IP packets communicated between a wireless device on the wireless LAN (WLAN) and a remote server, that technique does not capture lower-level point-to-point MAC frames communicated between devices on the WLAN, such as between the hotspot computer and a wireless device or between two wireless devices connected to the WLAN.
Within a WLAN, devices do not need to leverage transport or network packets (e.g., TCP/IP) to communicate with one another since they are on a shared medium and so can use the data link instead. To capture the frames sent on the shared wireless medium, there is another process I can recommend. This process provides for capturing communicated frames, such as between a computer application and a smartphone on the WLAN. The guidance below presumes that you have permission to capture wireless frames transmitted over the wireless network.
Fire up an unencrypted IEEE 802.11g wireless access point on a channel that is free or the least crowded. The “g” aspect is important, because newer protocols such as “n” and “ac” complicate capture due to variables like channel width and spatial streams. Having the access point be passcode-free and unencrypted is important as well because it allows for reading frames in the clear (presuming no other encryption is used for the transported data), though it is possible to use Wireshark to decrypt encrypted channels if you know the credentials — this is not covered herein.
Boot Kali Linux on a computer. Kali is a Linux distribution with tools built in for performing penetration testing.
Connect a wireless adapter that support IEEE 802.11g along with “monitor mode.” An example is Panda’s PAU05 300Mbps Wireless 802.11n USB Adapter — I have found that this particular adapter works well. Some other monitor mode wireless adapters that may function well are listed here and here.
Once you have captured the sequence of data you wish, discontinue the capture and open the resulting “PCAP” file in Wireshark, which is conveniently preloaded in the Kali Linux distribution. In Wireshark you can analyze the data there.
Obviously much more could be written about each of the tools and protocols above, and indeed, books have been written about each. However, here you have a short list of high-level steps to perform for passive Wi-Fi data sniffing, along with a complete set of the hardware and software you will need.
For potential future discussion is packet capture in a wired network, such as via Ethernet.
For the past few years I have enjoyed attending the European Patent Office’s (EPO) annual Patent Information Conference, which is held in a different European city each year. In 2015 it was based in Copenhagen, and in 2016 it was held in Madrid. This year (2017) it is held in Sofia, Bulgaria. There are several training sessions along with discussion rounds covering a variety of topics, such as patent-related searches, freedom to operate assessments, patent analytics, patent asset monitoring, and of course patent information and evaluation tools. As described in an earlier post about European patents, as a US-based patent analyst I find it beneficial to continue to stay informed about the latest developments in European patent law and data. This annual conference provides me with the opportunity to learn, and I also have met many great patent professionals at these conference events. Additionally, there are dozens of excellent exhibitors showing off their latest patent information and analysis software and services.
Europe is my home away from home, and I love spending time there and exploring new cities, as well as learning from peers. This conference is also relatively inexpensive compared to most patent conferences in the US.
Please let me know if you plan to attend this year’s (or any future year’s) EPO Patent Information Conference, and I can plan to meet you for a chat.
In my patent analysis practice, I continue to see an increase in requests to review European (EP) patents. This is likely due to a variety of reasons, including case law decisions in the United States in recent years, along with the promise of a European Unified Patent Court (UPC). In any case, I find it advantageous as a US-based patent analyst to be familiar with European patent practice because there are many differences from US practice, and of course there are different resources available for European patent review.
For example, while Google Patents provides support for EP patents, there is additional information available from European Patent Office (EPO) websites such as Espacenet (technical information) and European Patent Register (legal information, like the USPTO’s Public PAIR). And once a European patent is granted, it is currently enforced in each separate designated contracting state (nation) after validation procedures (such as providing language translations); renewal fees are also thereafter paid to each contracting state. This makes determining current status more difficult — one must determine in which nations the granted patent is enforceable (a topic for a future blog post).
UPDATE (Sep 25, 2017): The “Google Patents Images” Chrome browser extension only works if there are images available to load. It appears that all the latest patents no longer have images available. Therefore, I now find myself using the new Google Patents instead to be able to see the images. Because of this I have created another Chrome browser extension, “Google Patents Widescreen,” to offer better readability of the new Google Patents presentation.
In a previous post about expedited single-patent analysis I discuss how much I enjoy the layout format of the version of Google Patents available at the URL syntax of https://www.google.com/patents/patent_identifier. I continue to use this site for reviewing patents in my daily work.
There is also a newer version of Google Patents available at the URL syntax of https://patents.google.com/patent/patent_identifier. This newer version of Google Patents has a variety of improvements over the previous version, such as detailed search capability, patent expiration information, and claim text search term highlighting. The image viewer is also different, though not necessarily better, depending upon the circumstances (as detailed below).
That said, for several reasons I find myself continuing to prefer the previous version of Google Patents, which as of this writing is still available. These reasons include issues with the newer version, which were communicated to the Google Patents development team in 2016, albeit to no reply as of this writing:
Unnecessary Search Column: It would be helpful to be able to collapse the left-most column containing the search fields. Often, when one is reviewing a particular patent, there’s no desire to perform more searches. I admit that I sometimes work from a Chromebook with an 11-inch display, so having that left column go away would provide more precious real estate for the specification content, or possibly allow for images to be shown on the right side.
Small Images Viewer: For the drawings/images/figures, they are presented in a very small area when using a smaller display device, especially when centered with the rest of the content. I often cannot sufficiently see them and therefore must open them in a new window. While it’s often helpful to be able to see the images while still viewing the rest of the content, it would be beneficial to be able to open the set of drawings in a superimposed pop-up like is done for the legacy Google Patents — in this way a new window/tab is not needed, and one can scroll through all the figures quickly, all while being able to sufficiently see them.
Less-Accessible Metadata: It would be better to include the “Also Published As” information in the top metadata box instead of linking to a full list at the bottom of the page. The preexisting Google Patents solution has a collapsed list of related patents, and this would be the preferable solution for ease and speed of use. Or even a hover or pop-up box with the information would be helpful. Searchers and analysts very often need to see what family members there are, particularly US family members, and so having to go all the way to the bottom of the page to see this very important metadata is counter-intuitive and slow.
Much Slower Page Load Time: Beyond viewing the information, the speed of loading of a single newer Google Patents page is now painfully slow, especially as compared to the loading of the earlier version. And the newer pages will not completely load until after a browser tab/window is put into focus, as opposed to the legacy version which loads without being in focus. The newer pages have a title of “Result” on the browser tab until viewed.
The first issued US patent with broken figure images is 8,856,962 — all patents before that patent work OK. The first broken US pre-grant publication is 2014/0304877, while the first broken US design patent is D715016.