Report:QPAT/Search Interface/The Search Forms/Similarity Search
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|As of January 1, 2013, both QPAT and PatentExaminer have been discontinued, and they have been replaced by the Orbit.com portal.|
The Similarity Search Form
The similarity search form has a very specific function. It is meant to find references “similar” to any document entered into the form; in actuality, it just uses the subject document’s ECLA class to pull up other documents from that classification using the FamPat database (The use of FamPat as opposed to the full text files ensures that the most current ECLA classifications will be searched).
If the subject document does not have an ECLA class, the database will switch to searching on its IPC classification data. However, there is one exception, for a US document without an ECLA class: by checking “PCL/ECLA concordance,” the user can instruct the system to find the ECLA class that most frequently co-occurs with the US classification on the subject document. That ECLA class will then be used to construct the results.
Users may exercise an option to exclude United States (US), European Patent Office (EP), Patent Cooperation Treaty (WO/PCT) or Japanese (JP) patent documents from the search results. As the QPAT user guide notes, many Japanese documents do not have an ECLA class anyway and will rarely come up as hits in a similarity search.
This feature of QPAT is designed to encourage users to take advantage of the precise ECLA classifications used by EPO examiners. However, as a separate search interface, it’s mainly just a time saver that lets users skip the step of copying an ECLA class into the main patent search form. Since it only searches FamPat, the ECLA classification data can be relied upon as current.
The one really unique feature of this interface is the PCL/ECLA correspondence feature for US patents; this function parses the FamPat database to determine the highest correlation between a subject US class and its frequently co-cited ECLA classes. However, whether it really manages to pull up related documents in all cases is uncertain; a frequently co-cited ECLA class will not necessarily be related to this particular US subject patent.
This search interface can probably be filed under “bells-and-whistles.” It will probably be regarded by most users as an interesting side option rather than a go-to search tool.