Google is improving its patent search tools by expanding results from just United States patents but also those in Europe.
Starting this week, Google will be adding millions of submitted patents to the European Patent Office.
This will surely all come in handy for anyone researching or just curious about the countless new patent lawsuits in the technology world these days.
But that's not all Google is doing to improve its patent searching resources. The Internet giant is also unveiling a new "Prior Art Finder" feature, which essentially searches multiple sources for related content that existed at the time the patent was filed.
Those sources are phrases within the text of the patent, which are combined and turned into a new search query. Results are then derived from several Google Products (i.e. Google Patents, Google Scholar, Google Books, etc.) as well as basically the rest of the Internet.
Google engineering manager Jon Orwant explained on the Google Public Policy blog that the goal of this tool is to "give patent searchers another way to discover information relevant to a patent application, supplementing the search techniques they use today."
Orwant also remarked that "determining the novelty of a patent can be difficult, requiring a laborious search through many sources." Thus, the Prior Art Finder is supposed to ease up this process for inventors, researchers and lawyers.
The "Find prior art" button will roll out on individual patents starting today. For now, you can see an example on this European patent for a moisture-tight edible film dispenser.
Of course, not all entries to the European Patent Office will be in English. Google points out that it updated Google Translate this year that incorporates the EPO's texts, enabling the Patent Office to provide translation between English, French, German, Spanish, Italian, Portuguese, and Swedish right now. More languages are expected to be added in the future.
As for U.S. patents, Orwant noted that Google Patents is continuing to add bulk data from the United States Patent & Trademark Office.
Image via The Google Public Policy Blog