Each year, companies, universities, and national labs generate millions of patents for everything from groundbreaking energy storage methods to novel toilet seats (we’re not joking!). For companies interested in driving innovation, IP commercialization can be a fast, effective way to access new technologies, build a robust partnership ecosystem, and increase visibility into emerging technology trends.

However, cutting through all the noise to find RELEVANT technologies can require creative search techniques. In this article, you will learn how to combine keywords, filters, and our proprietary Technology Taxonomy to build effective searches.

Keeping it Simple

When it comes to finding technologies, it can be tempting to describe, in great detail, the exact solution you’re looking for. For example, someone interested in advanced materials might be tempted to search for “Self-assembling carbon nanotubes with anti-microbial properties.” Given the esoteric way in which patents are written, long, complex searches like this likely won’t yield many results.

nanotubes patent search

Instead, try breaking your searches down into smaller pieces. Our search tools let you create queries consisting of multiple keywords using operators like AND, OR, IS NOT.

Using this feature, you can break the query above into individual components, decide which keywords MUST be included, which cannot be included, and which are optional.

The Tricky Thing about Keywords

Thanks to search engines like Google, we’ve gotten used to searching complicated questions and finding what we’re looking for on the first page of results. Unfortunately, IP can be a bit trickier. Imagine a patent for a new type of plastic — it is unbreakable and when you project light through it you create a holographic image. This technology could be perfect for the next Virtual Reality Headset, but since the patent doesn’t mention anything related to virtual reality, keyword searches for virtual reality or head-up display would overlook it.

Emerging Technology Taxonomy

We developed our three-tier technology taxonomy for this exact situation. By selecting a broad or specific technology category from our Technology Navigator, you can quickly surface all IP related to that category (e.g., Virtual Reality), even if there are no relevant keywords in the patent title or abstract.

Putting It All Together

To get the most out of your search, you can combine our technology categories AND keyword searching.

Step 1: Select a technology category

Energy Technology Taxonomy

Step 2: Add one or more keywords

Advanced Battery Patent Search

We’ve been able to quickly surface the entire IP landscape for a given technology (energy storage), then narrow it down to a specific niche within that category (vanadium OR sodium battery chemistries).

You may need to narrow your search even more. For this, you can use our other Organization and Patent filters. You can experiment with filters including technology age, geographic coverage, organization size, HQ location, etc. to optimize your results.

Step 3: Engage Filters

patent search

Key Takeaway

By taking a systematic approach to IP search that leverages our full suite of search tools, you can quickly develop lists of patents and organizations that can be used for Whitespace analysis, Competitive Landscaping, partner identification, or to find available technologies to acquire.

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