Report:Delphion/Search Interface/The Search Forms/Advanced Search
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The Advanced Form
The Advanced search form is the interface designed for use by the professional patent searcher. This form allows the user to enter complex Boolean strings in a command line style interface without the restrictions of the drop down menus. Boolean operators can also be used in each field of the form, which is separated in to three main sections in addition to the CLI box: Text Fields; Date & Code Fields; and US Specific Fields.
Below is a list of available search fields in each section, along with comments regarding the fields:
The following data fields are available in the "Text Fields" section of the advanced search form:
- Attorney, Agent or Firm:
Although the search forms described above provide the basic fields needed for text, date and classification searching in Delphion’s files, many advanced capabilities needed for professional searching are lacking. For example, the separations of text fields for searching title, abstract, description OR claims individually is that there is no easy way to search broadly for a keyword located in any of these fields. In addition, these text boxes are small and are not conducive to long, complex strings or nested queries. One solution to this problem is for users to rely on the “Any field” text box at the top of the page for broadly searching records. An even better solution is for users to learn Delphion’s command line language, which can be used in the “any field” text box to construct advanced queries.
Besides the advantage of complex query construction, the command line can allow users to search in data fields that are not permitted on the search form. For example, users may designate searches to run in the French, German and Spanish full text records in the database; this is done using commands like “titlefr, titlede, titlees” etc. and is not available from any of the search forms.
Delphion helps users not yet comfortable with the command line interface by providing so many search forms that cater to various levels of experience and comfort. Such an emphasis on making new users comfortable is further proof of the fact that Delphion is designed for the occasional or casual searcher, rather than the professional full time searcher.
In contrast to some competitors’ databases, Delphion’s collections include corporate data. The Corporate Tree feature is designed to help users identify all possible past and present company and subsidiary names for a particular entity, for more accurate assignee searches. The corporate tree feature is definitely a worthwhile advantage to professional searchers as well as novices; however, the inclusion of corporate data also speaks to the fact that Delphion caters to the business/management side of IP searching, perhaps more than other search engines do. For more information about the corporate tree function, see the Corporate Tree section of this article.
Finally, although Derwent titles can be displayed for free in patent office data searches, the Derwent title field cannot be searched from this page; it can only be searched for a fee from the Derwent search fields (discussed below).
Date & Code Fields
The following data fields are available in the "Date & Code Fields" section of the advanced search form:
- IPC Code: Expanding a small menu located below this field will allow the user to limit the search to Core, Advanced, or Subclass-only records, and will also allow the user search in Invention-Only classifications. A link to the right of the field will direct the user to a Delphion hosted version of IPC classification definitions. The definitions can be expanded/collapsed in order of hierarchy, and they are keyword-searchable.
- Filed Date:
- Application Number:
- Priority Date:
- Priority Number:
- Priority Country:
- Designated Country:
- Publication Number:
- Related Applications:
- Other Abstracts:
- ECLA Code:
The biggest omission from this form appears to be the “publication date” search field. Actually, rather than appearing in the “Date & Code” search section, this field appears up at the top of the form next to the text query box, where it is easily accessible to users. Since date limitations are often used in searching, placing it at the top of the page makes sense. This search field that appears at the top of the page features a drop-down option that allows the user to switch the date limitation to filing or priority date, making the date fields in the later “Date and Code” section redundant. It is unclear why Delphion offers the priority number, and application number fields later in the search form, when users could rely on the single date-limiting field at the top of the page. Overall, the Advanced Search form is quite lengthy, and the interface would probably benefit from trimming the fat.
One additional feature about date searching worth noting is the date input format Delphion forces on users. Searching by date is performed by choosing month, day and year from drop-down menus, which reduces confusion about acceptable data format, but slows down data input.
US Specific Fields
The advanced search form offers searching on a variety of fields that are designated US-specific. The section below discusses the usefulness of these fields in the context of other database providers. These fields are:
- US Class: Allows searching “original and current” or “current only” classification codes. A link next to this field will navigate the user to a browse-able version of the US code.
- US References:
- Other References:
- Examiner: The examiner search field is one notably useful field offered by the Delphion search interface: this field is not searchable in some competitor's search engines.
- Government Interest:
- Maintenance Status Code:
- Continuity Data (US Apps only): These three data fields, Government Interest, Maintenance Status Code, and Continuity Data, are offered for searching for US documents only from the advanced search form. Although their use is probably not often needed, situations may occasionally arise where this capability is useful to searchers.
The Government Interest field specifically searches the text of the official “Statement Regarding Federally Sponsored Research Or Development” contained in US patents disclosing technology that was developed as a result of a government contract. Below is an example of this type of statement as it can appear in the full text records of US documents:
From US7117067: STATEMENT REGARDING FEDERALLY SPONSORED RESEARCH OR DEVELOPMENT
The U.S. Government may have certain rights in this invention as provided for by the terms of one or more of the following contracts:
- Contract N66001-99-C-8513 awarded by Space and Naval Warfare Systems Center of the Department of the Navy;
- Contract DASG60-02-C-0028 awarded by U.S. Army Space and Strategic Defense Command of the Department of the Army;
- Contract DAAD16-00-C-9219 awarded by the U.S. Army Material Command Acquisition Center of the Department of the Army; and
- Contract DAAH01-02-C-R029 awarded by the U.S. Army Aviation and Missile Command of the Department of the Army.
Another hypothetical advantage of Delphion’s is the ability to search US patents by legal status data. Should users wish to conduct a search by Maintenance Status Code data in Delphion, it can be done by choosing one of the seventeen possible maintenance status values from a dropdown menu.
- The drop-down menu on the search form has the following options:
- CC Cert. of Correction
- Any E Code
- E1 Expired after 4 yrs
- E2 Expired after 8 yrs
- E3 Expired after 12 yrs
- No E Code
- Any R Code
- R1 Reinstated after E1
- R2 Reinstated after E2
- R3 Reinstated after E3
- Any B or C code
- B1/C1 Re-examined
- B2/C2 Re-examined
- B3/C3 Re-examined
- W Withdrawn
- XT Term Extended
- M Missing from DB
The ability to use the Government Interest field in Delphion does not necessarily represent a content/data coverage advantage over other search providers, as some competitors (like MicroPatent) provide this data as part of a searchable full text US record. However, Delphion provides better access: tagging this content in its files makes this a separate, searchable field. In other words, while a search for “Space and Naval Warfare Center” in another full-text data search provider might call up false hits, Delphion can provide a targeted search within only the relevant “statement” portion of US documents. The inclusion of this field also represents an advantage over systems that omit the data entirely.)
The maintenance status search is more of an advantage: the ability to search for only patents that have/have not expired due to nonpayment of maintenance fees is the most useful potential application of this search feature. This feature is often in-demand for infringement-type investigations, where only live art is of interest. When using this field, users are much more likely to choose a general designation like “any E code” for searching than trying to search separately for only patents that have “expired after 4 years,” for example. This is one search field that constitutes a unique advantage for Delphion, to the extent that this function can actually be useful when designing a search strategy. The timeliness of the data should also be taken into account. Users who require a comprehensive survey of the prior art should probably avoid using Delphion maintenance fee information as search-limiting data.