Patent Recommender: Simplify searching for relevant content in patents
MIDS Capstone Project Summer 2016

Patent Recommender

When you go to patent your invention, you want to make sure you are aware of all other patents that relate to your invention. Firstly, it allows you to write a patent that will get accepted by not trying to patent something that is already patented. Secondly, it allows you to write a patent that is defensible by being aware of what the other claims are.

Currently, finding relevant patents is done by iterating through keyword searches. Try one keyword, pick the ones that are relevant. Next, try a variation on that and pick the new ones that pertain. Then keep iterating, each time trying to think of new ways to describe the same thing. Trying to think of all the ways it could be describe is one of the hardest things in doing a thorough search. Someone coming from the same field may describe it similarly, but you also have people coming from academia, independent inventors, and even people from other countries. All this can cause the range of keywords that might find these patents to grow.

Once you have some patents though, there is more we can do that just a keyword search. We look for similarities with other patents in order to find the next patent that you could look at. Using the latent Dirichlet allocation (LDA) similarity metric, we look at the text in the patents and come up with probabilities for underlying topics in the documents. By doing so, even if a keyword term is not present in the patent, we can help find patents with similar topics and recommend them to you for researching. Additionally, we’ve provided a way to add emphasis to patents. Have a patent that is only “sort of” related? Give it a lower score to keep it from derailing your search. Have another patent that is a competitor to your invention? Give it a higher score to provide direction in the recommendations.

A technique like this can help you to be more confident that you’ve found everything that pertains to your inventions. By having a complete search completed, you can write better patents that will help you maintain your competitive edge and capitalize on your invention.

Last updated: March 30, 2017