A Study of Query Reformulation for Patent Prior Art Search with Partial Patent Applications - LIRMM - Laboratoire d’Informatique, de Robotique et de Microélectronique de Montpellier Access content directly
Conference Papers Year : 2015

A Study of Query Reformulation for Patent Prior Art Search with Partial Patent Applications

Mohamed Reda Bouadjenek
Scott Sanner
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Gabriela Ferraro
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Patents are used by legal entities to legally protect their inventions and represent a multi-billion dollar industry of licensing and litigation. In 2014, 326,033 patent applications were approved in the US alone -- a number that has doubled in the past 15 years and which makes prior art search a daunting, but necessary task in the patent application process. In this work, we seek to investigate the efficacy of prior art search strategies from the perspective of the inventor who wishes to assess the patentability of their ideas prior to writing a full application. While much of the literature inspired by the evaluation framework of the CLEF-IP competition has aimed to assist patent examiners in assessing prior art for complete patent applications, less of this work has focused on patent search with queries representing partial applications. In the (partial) patent search setting, a query is often much longer than in other standard IR tasks, e.g., the description section may contain hundreds or even thousands of words. While the length of such queries may suggest query reduction strategies to remove irrelevant terms, intentional obfuscation and general language used in patents suggests that it may help to expand queries with additionally relevant terms. To assess the trade-offs among all of these pre-application prior art search strategies, we comparatively evaluate a variety of partial application search and query reformulation methods. Among numerous findings, querying with a full description, perhaps in conjunction with generic (non-patent specific) query reduction methods, is recommended for best performance. However, we also find that querying with an abstract represents the best trade-off in terms of writing effort vs. retrieval efficacy (i.e., querying with the description sections only lead to marginal improvements) and that for such relatively short queries, generic query expansion methods help.
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lirmm-01134828 , version 3 (07-05-2015)





Mohamed Reda Bouadjenek, Scott Sanner, Gabriela Ferraro. A Study of Query Reformulation for Patent Prior Art Search with Partial Patent Applications. ICAIL: International Conference on Artificial Intelligence and Law, Jun 2015, San Diego, United States. pp.23-32, ⟨10.1145/2746090.2746092⟩. ⟨lirmm-01134828⟩
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