Invalidation Search – Spelling Mistakes

Can anyone search this blog with its name (“My Search Strategies“)


How can you reach here if you want to? forget about the other keywords that might bring you to this place

Any idea why?

Spelling mistakes!!

This is the major reason why we and the examiners miss out lots of relevant prior art.

While choosing the name of the blog I mistyped as I was in a hurry and even after wordpress confirming the name from me 3 times I missed it (happens). Similarly, there are various patents that include such misspelled words that get missed out even after multiple quality checks.

Now next time when you search keep all possible spelling variations in mind and include all possible word variations in your (keystrings or keystrngs or keystings or kystrings).

I cracked on invalidation using this strategy. If I would have not used it, I would have never been able to identify that hidden patent!!!

“Invalidation is an art not a science”


Innovation – Changing the Way How People Think

I entered into this domain not for money but the thrill that this domain give you every day.

You are always surrounded by fantastic people with fantastic ideas. Sometimes it feels truly amazing to brainstorm with someone on the possibility of different ways how an idea or a technology can be implemented.

However, I am very tired of the people who are running this field. Its sucks when you see that this domain is 100 years old and there has been hardly any innovation in this domain – what a co-incidence this domain is closest to the innovations.

I want to change this. I don’t want to work just to keep this industry as it has been since years.

This industry has power to revolutionise the way people think right now. It can provide power to the people to think about new things. There is a huge gap here. Its sucks when you see someone coming up with a fantastic idea and then the next moment just forget about it as if it has no importance.

I am working like crazy on this from last 5 days and have hardy slept. People who are interested in being a part of this can mail me on If you are not crazy, this is not for you.

Patent Invalidation Search – See What You Cannot See

When you are analysing the patents, do not look for relevant ones, look from where they are coming, how they are changing with your strings, try to see what others don’t see, try to look behind their text – Try to see more than what your eyes can see.

Try to forsee..

Sometimes we get too much engrossed in analysing the patents and we believe analyzing more patents will help us find what we are looking for.

More patents and more queries does not mean high probability of getting the result!!…

Short Term vs Long Term

Short Term vs Long Term

I recently came across this painting and I was surprised how well it describe our thought process towards short term gain vs long term gain.

It also shows that how difficult it is to agree to someone who knows that there is a light on the other side, when you have never seen the light in your whole life.

Its very important to surround yourself with people who think about your long term benefit rather than short term.

Patent Invalidation Search – Leading in The Long Term

Being a Though Leader

If you are in this domain (patent research) for few years and really love what you are doing, I strongly believe that it becomes your responsibility to pass on your thoughts and philosophies to the new people who are entering this domain. Why? I feel its very easy for them to get misguided and get diverted towards relating success with reading more patents rather than thinking around them.

Therefore, as you spend more time and years in this domain, an important quality that needs to be developed is that of a leader. I am not talking about a team leader here or a manager that manages a group of 10 analyst. I am referring to a leader that people trust and they love to follow. A person who has thoughts to take the industry towards a next level.

I believe after spending few years, your role should be focused more towards “find the right people” who are well suited to work this domain. We all know that no matter how good a person is in technology, law or business, he has a high tendency to fail in this domain if he cannot think in 360 degrees. Therefore, its your responsibility to bring the right set of people, coach them and nurture their development. You have to expose them to harsh reality that their thought process have real consequences, results are the only thing that matter and ability to solve problems under extreme pressure are the only things that are going to take them towards the top. They should know that one small error can cost a company 100s of millions of dollars.

You have to challenge them to do their best work. I believe leaders need to have high standards. If you are experienced, I am assuming that you are the pioneer in this domain and any relaxation in the quality from your side can harm not only this industry but the person who is working with you. So stick to high standards.

If the people under you after moving out can say, “I learned more and did more than I ever thought I could”, you have done your part. I can tell you that they may never realize this while working with you but it does not matter as your high standards may become normal for them. So try to create a sphere around you which is unbeatable.I believe real leaders try to make their people better than them. They challenge them constantly and allow them to learn from their mistakes.

Passion for the work, love for the company, and the commitment to grow the industry are the core things required in any leader. If you have hired and developed a team of great people under you and taught them how to work together and solve hard problems, you can say you’ve done your job as a real leader. If they can think in longer terms rather than trying to run after short goals, you know you have done your job as a real leader.

I am assuming if you are reading this either you already have a team or soon you are going to have one. Just make sure that your people have sound values and they stand for your team no matter what.

There is great insight from Alan of FastCompany that I read the other day and which inspired me to write this post. Real leaders make more leaders. The company with the most and best leaders wins, and you have to be the one which try to create more leaders at all levels of your team or organisation. Leaders practice leadership to cultivate more leaders. Thats what real leaders leave behind: more people who are real leaders.

Become a thought leader rather than a manager with 3, 5 or 10 year experience.

Invalidation Search – Forming Keystrings

Observe the following keystrings:

  • (A or B or C) AND D AND E
  • (A or B or C or P) AND D AND Q
  • (A or (B near F) or C) AND D AND (S or T or D)
  • (A or Z or Q) AND D AND E
  • (A or B or C) AND ((W or R or T) near (M or N or L))
  • (A or B or C) AND D AND (G or H)

The above keystrings have been formed to cover a particular concept – imagine it to be claimed in a patent. All of the above queries or better to say 80% of the above queries are revolving around A, B or C. So no matter how much you change the other words in your query you will always keep on revolving around the same set of patents.

Let me know if this has happened to you:

  • After executing some 15-20 keystrings the patents start repeating themselves.
  • After you have analyzed 2000-2500 patents maximum number of patents that you get are repetitive.

If the above is happening with you it does not mean that you are not doing exhaustive search what it means is that you are just getting more exhaustive in the same direction which Examiner would have researched during prosecution.

What we do (getting more deeper):

Going deeper

Most probably we will never find result using this strategy. What should be done:

Going in all directions

The objective should be to use as many lateral strategy as possible so that with every new strategy you get a completely new set of results:

Lateral Thinking

What I believe right now, 80% of the invalidation searches are performed, unconsciously, in the above manner.

If we are performing the search and modifying our queries, we have to be careful that we are going in different direction otherwise modification of queries are not us to other places where result might exist.

Invalidation Search: No Result Found

Eyes on Screen

This phrase is the hardest thing for a researcher to say and the attorney to hear (assuming it was not his client’s patent).

Personally, I hate this phrase.

I hate it so much that many times I have spent nights in front of computer just to make sure that I don’t have to say this phrase to my client. This domain is all about relevant results –

  • There is no such thing as bugs here as in software development that can be fixed later,
  • There is no such thing as all cracks as in construction industry that can be repaired later,
  • There are no typos as in Magazines for which you can apologise later.

You get one chance and you need to crack it in the very first go.

You may have to go to any level, even lie to yourself to find that one result.

Let me explain this with an instance of 2005.

It was the last day of the invalidation search and I didn’t had any relevant hits with me. My eyes were bloating, hands were moving fast on the keyboard, foot constantly tapping on the floor, my blood pressure was sky-rocketing – I was feeling as if I was utilising every Neuron present in my brain to come up with something that can get me to the result. My eyes were constantly moving between the clock and the screen to keep a track of the time left.

Till that time, I had already exhausted all the possible ways that could probably get me the result. The last few hours were left and I decided to take a call to analyse one broad key string from my logs that had 500 hits. Normally I never analyse string with such a large hit and always narrow it down further. But here I had no other strategy left and I decided to go ahead with it. I started with the analysis and reached 200 spot in nearly 90 minutes. As I was going ahead my nervousness was increasing as I was getting more closer to saying ‘No result was found’.

Time was moving very fast. I reached 450 and still there was no result. I was going through the patents like crazy and, as I was analysing my heart was beating much faster. It was like a race between my eyes and my heart about who is going to make a higher score. By the time I reached 480, my head started to calm down as I knew that the relevancy score decreases as you move towards the last few patents and there is near to zero chance that something relevant could be existing in the last 20 patents and that too in a very broad query.

My heart was not ready to agree with this logic and I decided to continue the analysis with the same energy. As I reached 495, I was still at the same position when I started the analysis.

When I entered in this industry, there were two things that made me fall in love with it. The first was the opportunity to learn about new technologies and second was the constant thrill/challenge that this field has. I always considered Invalidation search projects as a personal challenge and I was very clear that the industry that I am entering is not going to be an easy one.

With this in mind, I continued my analysis and the 498th patent made my day. I found the exact bang-on hit that I was looking for during the entire 6 days. Some clever attorney intentionally drafted the patent in such a manner that it should never appear in the search result but I found it.

This thrill still excites me and keep me awake during nights. I live for this thrill. Now I enjoy much more when we are stuck at a place where no results are visible. Coming out from ‘no result’ to ‘I found it’ is just amazing and can only be experienced by the people who are there in this domain for the thrill of it.

Biggest Barrier to Innovation

Managers or Chief Executives

Managers or Chief Executives

Who is the biggest barrier to innovation in the companies:

  • Senior Executive
  • Managers
  • Staff

Senior Executives are always talking about innovation. They want their organisation to frequently come up with new ideas. Their role is to constantly remind their Managers and Staff about where they want to go. Staff does not know what they should do to innovate, so even though they are technically skilled they do not have enough experience to come up with something new. Not we are left with Managers.

Managers are the pillars of the company. They are the one who play an important role in the success or the failure of the company.

Now why Managers?

Managers are the one who are working at the ground level and know what works and what not. They are also aware of what is there in the market and what is the need. They are deep into the technology as well as the market. They are the one who can guid the Staff to work in a particular direction and develop innovative products and solutions.

Now what can managers do if they do not get enough resources backing from the Chief Executives. So they cannot be blamed for the lack of innovation. They still are the biggest barrier – because its their responsibility to go back to the Executives and ask for what they need. They need to provide them with facts and figures on what may happen if we don’t do it.

Managers are the future leaders and they need to understand that their role is not limited to taking orders. If they don’t ask for things, the managers and the company deserves to fail. The important thing here is that its a slow death. The Managers and the company never realize that its moving towards failure. It happens slowly till one day company realizes that the market share has gone so low that nothing can be done now – remember Blackberry. Similarly, managers also experience a slow death. Have you ever heard from people saying their career has become stagnant, there is no growth in the company etc. – signs of steps towards failure.

So if you are a company make sure that you are open towards what your managers have to say and you give them enough power to change the course if required.

Innovation needs to run in the blood of the company, in the culture, it cannot be achieved by taking a dose of Vitamin or Glucose.

Note: If you still feel Apple success was innovative due to Steve Jobs – I rest my case.

Invalidation Search – Industry Knowledge

This is another post from my 2009 drafts and this is what I wrote at that time:

Though many people win this war of Invalidation through searching but there is another alternative to it as well.

“Knowledge of the domain”

Sometimes, it become very easy to say if a particular patent is valid or not by just looking at the claims. Therefore, industry experts play a very important role in Invalidation searches.

Now, in 2014, I believe Industry experts does not increase any chance of finding the bang-on prior art. Yes, the person from the industry may provide you some inputs but that holds zero significance for invalidation. For invalidation we need strong, explicit references. So its a Myth that industry experts can help us get the answers.

Therefore, rather than relying on Industry experts, you should look for the person who can find things where others are not looking. A person having zero industry knowledge but having an strong capability of tracing the cracks in the information layer can give you what you are looking for.