In an earlier blog post Searching gets serious in PatSeer we spoke about how professional searchers forced us to make many serious improvements to the search techniques.

This time again we have been asked to push our boundaries and make our search syntax parallel existing systems so that the learning curve for a professional patent searcher is close to none when shifting to the PatSeer platform.

And so with updates made this month we are happy to announce that searching has gotten a familiar touch in PatSeer. (Seriously… it has…)

There are two key improvements we made to the search syntax:

The first one is that we have introduced inline proximity operators to the search syntax in addition to the existing proximity syntax. These new inline operators are w for bidirectional and wd for left-right ordered proximity.

Valid usage is w (same as w0 meaning within 0 words), w5 (within zero to five words), w2-4 (within two to four words), w4-4 (within exactly 4 words). Similarly wd, wd5, wd2-4, wd4-4 can be used for left-to-right ordered proximity.

So if you want to search for optic* within 2 words of fiber then you can give it as:

TAC:(optic* w2 fiber)  Same as TAC:”optic* fiber”%2 . This will be look for optic* and fiber appears within two words and appearing in any order
TAC:(optic* wd2 fiber) Same as TAC:”optic* fiber”~2 . This will be look for optic* and fiber appears within two words and appearing in same order

A key benefit of the new syntax is that you can use phrases within proximity searches too by chaining the proximity operators. (Please make use of parentheses here to avoid ambiguous queries)

For example:

TAC:((optic* w2 (fiber or fibre)) wd5 (transmission amplifier))

This query will search for optic* within 2 words of fiber or fibre and occurring within 5 words of the phrase transmission amplifier. Also note that since there is no operator between transmission and amplifier and exact match is assumed as discussed above.

There is no change with the existing proximity syntax and both the syntax’s can be used.

The second change is that the default operator has been changed to be an exact match instead of the AND operator. So a query like T:turbo jet or jet engine or rocket engine will now perform similar to T:”turbo jet” or “jet engine” or “rocket engine” .

So the combination of the changes and enhancements allow you to use multiple phrases within a proximity construct and also keep your search syntax simple.

TAC:((thermal or flame or (wire arc) or warm or cold or (high velocity oxy fuel) or HVOF or plasma or detonat*)   wd2   (spray* or coat*))

In the query above wire arc and high velocity oxy fuel is treated as exact match. The rest are searched within 2 words of spraying or coating. So the query will match phrases like:

  • Plasma spraying/coating
  • Detonation spraying/coating
  • Wire arc spraying/coating
  • Flame spraying/coating
  • High velocity oxy-fuel spraying/coating (HVOF)
  • Warm spraying/coating
  • Cold spraying/coating

Finally, note that you can even use a combination of the old and new syntax. For example:

(((mobile* wd1 phone) OR cellphone OR (cell wd1 phone) OR handheld OR (hand held) OR (cellular wd1 phone) OR (portable communicat* device))    AND      (display or LCD or screen*))“%5

In the above example multiple proximity operators have been used within a double quote proximity construct. The above query could also have been written as:

((mobile* wd1 phone) OR cellphone OR (cell wd1 phone) OR handheld OR (hand held) OR (cellular wd1 phone) OR (portable communicat* device))    w5      (display or LCD or screen*)

We hope these changes suit the syntax that most patent professionals are used to.  Feedback and brickbats are equally welcome…