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.