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Posts Tagged ‘Chrome’

Google Patents Widescreen Viewer

September 25, 2017 1 comment

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.

Note that the extension doesn’t send out any data, and in fact there’s no JavaScript — it’s purely just formatting tweaks.

Here’s the different in presentation from the normal view versus the extension’s enhanced view:

Google Patents Widescreen viewer
Google Patents Widescreen viewer

European Patents

September 12, 2017 1 comment

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).

With regard to European patents, the Chrome browser “Patent Claims Tree” extension has been updated to:

  1. provide a link to both Espacenet and the European Patent Register for a given EP patent, such as when viewed in Google Patents
  2. handle claims viewed in Espacenet
  3. provide enhanced German claim text analysis
  4. fix claims extraction for EP patents in Google Patents (based on updates to Google Patents)

 

EPO links

Links to Espacenet and Register for EP patents.

 

Espacenet claims tree

Espacenet claims tree

Google Patents website versions

May 22, 2017 Comments off

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:

  1. 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.
  2. 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.
  3. 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.
  4. 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.

One issue that arose in 2016 was that on the legacy Google Patents, newer patents’ images were not being shown because the associated image links were broken. Perhaps this is intentional so as to encourage users to the newer Google Patents, or perhaps it’s because the legacy version is no longer being actively supported (or both). In any case, because I prefer the legacy version, I created a Chrome browser extension called “Google Patents Images” which on the fly modifies the image links for legacy Google Patents to use the image links for the newer Google Patents. The extension should work automatically for any legacy Google Patents page after the initial installation of the extension (as long as JavaScript is enabled).

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.

Replacing the images allows for viewing the images, but the controls to go to the previous/next images are still broken — these are controlled in the page’s JavaScript, which cannot be manipulated by a Chrome extension.

Google Patents Images Chrome extension

Google Patents Images Chrome extension

Categories: Analysis, Resources, Software Tags: ,

More Patent Analysis Tools

November 7, 2014 Comments off

The patent claims tree Chrome browser extension I created in 2012 provides a patent claims tree for a given patent document, and it has become fairly popular, with several hundred users as of this writing. The tool is available at the Chrome Web Store, and is described in more detail here and here.

I have created additional Chrome browser extensions that I have found helpful and that you can use during patent analysis. One provides USPTO patent assignments for any selected text, such as a selected company name. This solution allows you to quickly look up any US patent assignments for a given company name in the USPTO patent assignment database.

UPDATED (May 22, 2017): The other links from a selected patent or patent application identifier on any webpage to the corresponding Google Patents page.

The “Patent Assignments” tool is available at the Chrome Web Store, as is the “Open Google Patents” tool.

Screenshots for each extension are provided below. I hope that you find these applications helpful in your patent analysis.

Patent Assignments - screenshot

Patent Assignments Chrome browser extension

 

Open Google Patents Chrome extension

Open Google Patents Chrome extension

 

Categories: Analysis, Resources, Software Tags: ,

Patent Claims Tree tool updates

May 2, 2014 Comments off

The patent claims tree Chrome browser extension I created in 2012  provides a patent claims tree for a given patent document, and it has become fairly popular, with several hundred users as of this writing. The tool is available at the Chrome Web Store, and is described in more detail here.

I have recently made a couple of improvements to the tool for EP and WO (PCT/WIPO) patent document handling. For one, claim tree creation is now supported for both EP and WO patent documents on Google Patents. Additionally, rudimentary support for German and French for EP patent documents in Google Patents has been added. While the claim type is not handled for German and French, claim tree creation is now provided. Additionally, it should be noted that Google Patents provides kind code B (i.e., issued patent) claims text for EP patents (while Espacenet does not as of this writing — the kind code B issued claims are only available in a PDF file). See this other PatentAnalyst blog post regarding consideration of kind codes for EP patent documents.

The screenshot below shows a claims tree for an issued EP patent viewed in Google Patents. Noteworthy is that not all formats of multiple dependent claims are fully handled in the Patent Claims Tree tool. These types of claims are more common in EP patent documents than in US patent documents.

Google Patents EP claim tree

 

Categories: Analysis, Resources, Software Tags: ,

How to Review all Independent Claims in 15 Minutes or Less

July 14, 2013 Comments off

I am very often asked to review and comment on patents in 15 minutes or even less. In those cases I normally am not requested to provide too much detail due to lack of time, but of course clients still want relevant feedback about each patent. Clients will typically indicate what aspects they want detailed, but in any case there really is one overarching question — that is, “How likely is use of this patent?” To arrive at an answer (such as an estimated probability), an analyst must first ascertain what the key elements and limitations are, and should do so not only for claim 1 or the shortest independent claim, but for all independent claims. From that assessment, the analyst can then focus on one independent claim for providing comments, though sometimes it’s best to indicate differences in claim scope that could impact assessments.

When I tell other analysts that one really should review all independent claims, even in a 15-minute review, often the response is that I’m crazy. And perhaps I am, and in fact it wasn’t that long ago that I said that 15 minutes wasn’t long enough to analyze all independent claims in a patent. But it bothered me because of all the times that I saw that the most relevant claim was not actually claim 1 (supposedly the “representative” claim) or even the shortest claim. So what could be improved to allow for a fuller review in just 15 minutes, or even less? Disclaimer: this technique will not work for outliers like this exceptional patent application, which has 7,215 claims: http://www.google.com/patents/US20030100451!

The answer for me, which I wish to share with you, is the use of software tools — for now my favorite combination is Google Patents (in a particular format) and my free Patent Claims Tree Google Chrome extension. Google Patents has been around for years, but for a while I found that many patents were missing, and I preferred the presentation and layout of FreePatentsOnline.  But over time Google Patents improved, and eventually they modified their layout such that I can hardly envision a better format for efficient review of a patent. This format may continue to evolve over time, and perhaps it will even get better, but it certainly is already great — as of this writing, Google Patents has multiple layouts, but the one I particularly like is the format provided for webpages with the following syntax: http://www.google.com/patents/US<patent_number>. Take a look, for example, at: http://www.google.com/patents/US7654321. The title, abstract, and relevant metadata are all presented at the very top of the page in a compact and easily-readable view.

Top-level

Just below that is a set of all images, which can be quickly expanded and perused, and sideways images can be easily rotated. All images can be visually scanned in less time that it takes to open the patent’s PDF file!

Image example

Then perhaps most elegantly, the patent background and the claims are provided in side-by-side columns. The claims are indeed the most important components of a patent because they define a patent’s scope of rights to exclusion, but claims are often worded in manner that can be difficult to comprehend at first glance. Therefore, a quick review of the background section sets the stage for inventive embodiments and helps to scope the claims for a reader. And now this is where the Patent Claims Tree tool for the Chrome browser comes in — with sufficient resolution/zoom, your Chrome browser can simultaneously present the background, claims, and a claims tree with relevant claims metrics, all side-by-side (basically a three-column display):

Three-column display

I find this presentation to be incredibly helpful and fast. The speed at which patent claims can be reviewed using this presentation is key since time is so limited.

With an appropriate input device such as a mouse with a scroll wheel, it is possible to scroll through the claims in Google Patents while the claims tree remains open. Additionally, note all the helpful information presented at a glance in the claims tree: the number of independent claims, which claims are the independent claims, the shortest independent claim, the relative word counts of the independent claims, the type of claim for each independent claim, the relative amount of dependent claims for each independent claim, and which claims use means-plus-function language. Sure, it’s possible to figure all of that out manually, but just that alone would probably take more than 15 minutes by itself.

Those metrics help in determining which independent claim should receive the bulk of your attention. In the example above (I like to use 7,654,321 because it’s a nice number :)), one can quickly determine that in this case there are six independent claims covering a variety of types of coverage, though the “downhole tool” of claim 21 is by far the shortest claim (by about 60 words), so review should probably start there. After reading that claim, if the claim seems to have sufficient coverage, then probably only cursory reviews of the other independent claims are necessary. There are other possible considerations that can be made at a glance as well — e.g., perhaps the client has indicated that it has a threshold for claim word count, so some claims can be discounted rapidly. Or, maybe only claims with a certain type of coverage are desired, and so the claim type can be used to focus on specific claims. In any case, using the three-column presentation, it is normally quite feasible with most patents to have time to read and understand all independent claims, and therefore pick out the best. If you want to find, for example, all method/process claims, this information is there in the tree. Should supplemental background information be needed, it’s right there. Should a figure or two be helpful for understanding scope, it’s simple and speedy to pop them up without a PDF. Should the priority date need consideration, it’s right there above the images.

This approach works quite well for me, and I bet that it will for you too. I am now quite confident in performing 15-minute patent reviews for most technology areas with which I am familiar. There are exceptions of course, but the techniques and software described above have greatly expedited my reviews, making 15 minutes much more comfortable than they used to feel.

If you have additional efficiency tips, please share them in the comments.

Claims tree

Patent Claims Tree tool

I recently published a Chrome browser extension that provides a patent claims tree for a given patent document — this tool is available here.  I developed the tool for myself, and I find it quite handy in my daily patent analysis work, so I thought I would share it with the patent community for free.  I hope you like it.

Features:

  • Supports the following websites:
    • USPTO
    • FreePatentsOnline
    • Google Patents
    • ArchPatent
  • Displays the type of claim (e.g., apparatus, method, system, etc.)
  • Displays the word count for independent claims
  • Highlights the claim with the shortest word count
  • Displays a means-plus-function (MPF) language indication (searches for word “means”)
  • Links to USPTO Assignment database for the current US patent document.
  • Links to USPTO Maintenance Fees for the current patent.
  • Links for searching for US patent litigation associated with the patent.
  • Links to Google Patents PDF for the current US patent document.
  • Links to Google Patents Prior Art Finder for the current US patent document.
  • Links to FreePatentsOnline for the current US patent document.
  • Links to EPO Register for EP patent documents.
Patent Claims Tree Chrome extension

Patent Claims Tree Chrome extension

Categories: Analysis, Resources, Software Tags: ,