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Patent Search Visualization Increases among IP Search Platforms
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Summary: IP search platforms are changing the way patent searches are done to include visual results instead of just keywords.

Keyword searches used to be all the rave but those molded into technology-assisted reviews. Now, this is transitioning into visual searches. TrademarkVision CEO and founder Sandra Mau said, “There is a trend towards visual analytics because nowadays it’s much easier for users to absorb a lot of data in a visual format.” The e-discovery market and the legal industry have already caught on to search visualization, seeing such companies as Brainspace and Relativity. These companies offer more visual features than ever before, according to


DesignVision is another visual search engine that works for three-dimensional design patents and two-dimensional trademarks. Users are able to drag and drop images into the search box in order to try and find matches with similar IP assets. Mau explained that the point of the program was to help catch problems caused by different ways IP office and investors around the globe label trademarks or patents for keyword searches.

The incongruent way of labeling patents was the greatest challenge for DesignVision. Inventors were not only labeling differently but drawing and designing differently as well. The details in design patent drawings vary differently in each U.S. jurisdictions whereas “in Europe it’s more common to get photos,” according to Mau.

In order to get past the different ways of labeling patents, TrademarkVision developed a proprietary machine-learning engine that could teach DesignVision how to read the semantic meaning of each image. This capability enables the platform to easily link differently formatted images to others but it takes a lot of training to get these machine-learning engines running. The platform’s success caught the eye of the European Union Intellectual Property Office.

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DesignVision is not the only platform for patent visual searches. A new startup, Loci’s InnVenn, can leverage visualization to aid users in finding a more relevant patent. InnVenn does this differently by still utilizing keyword searches through visualization.

This new platform gives users up to four searches, each search being able to include a set of keywords to find patents relevant to each search. The resulting patents are then displayed as clickable-dots on a Venn diagram. The dots in the diagram’s overlapping section meet all of the search criteria.

Loci CEO and founder John Wise told Legaltech News that he wanted to bring simplicity to traditional patent searches on legal platforms like LexisNexis and CPA Global. He called those legal platforms “convoluted to use” and only accessible by “expert level searchers.”

The increase of visualization in patent search tools may be indicating a larger trend in the development of tech products that are easy to use.

Do you think there is a way of standardizing patent labeling? Share your thoughts with us in the comments below.

To learn more about patent and trademark law, read these articles:



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