From the Google Blog:
The ability to search for the most relevant references–the best prior art–is more important today than ever. Patent filings have steadily increased with 600,000 applications filed and 300,000 patents issued in 2014 alone. At the same time, litigation rates are continuing their dramatic climb, with patent trolls bringing the majority of cases, hitting companies of every size in industries from high-tech to main street.
Traditional searches often focus on other patents. But the best prior art might be a harder-to-find book, article, or manual. That was true in the “shopping cart” patent case. After many companies paid out millions in settlements, a court finally struck down the patent in light of two books that were not found by the examiner who issued the patent.
The new Google Patents helps users find non-patent prior art by cataloguing it, using the same scheme that applies to patents. We’ve trained a machine classification model to classify everything found in Google Scholar using Cooperative Patent Classification codes. Now users can search for “autonomous vehicles” or “email encryption” and find prior art across patents, technical journals, scientific books, and more.
We’ve also simplified the interface, giving users one location for all patent-related searching and intuitive search fields. And thanks to Google Translate, users can search for foreign patent documents using English keywords.
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Hat Tip and Thanks: Barry Schwartz at Search Engine Land