AOP Community Resources

Identifying Keywords

Identifying Keywords Overview

Keywords are the main driver of your search.  Your keywords should primarily originate from the Study description and patent claims.  The most successful keywords will represent the detailed aspects of the technology that make the it unique and different from any other patent.

However, your search should not simply rely on a few words from the Study.  In order to create a truly successful search strategy, you need your keywords to be developed based on your understanding of the technology.  For example, a Study about a cell phone should not focus solely on cell phones.  It should focus on the exact characteristics that make that specific cell phone unique.  Successful Researchers will utilize a revolving set of search terms that constantly narrows the focus of the search.

Selecting Keywords

The more difficult question is how to select the best keywords for the Study. Based on the Study Description, Study patent, and knowledge you’ve gained through background searching, you should have a preliminary list that represents a general description of the technology.  For each Study, the most important areas to help narrow this list are the patent claims and the Research Requirements.  The patent claims define the technology and can help you to focus on the two to three elements that make the technology unique.  The Research Requirements section of the Study lists the primary elements, as defined by the AOP Client.  One way to choose keywords is to select one keyword corresponding to each feature of the invention.

Of these elements, the more specific technical terms are the most important.  Any general terms are more likely to be available in a wide variety of references.  Once you narrow your list based on these technical terms, your goal is to find a piece of literature that matches as many of these elements as possible.  Keep in mind that using a single keyword when conducting a search will yield too many unrelated or irrelevant references.  In order to find a reference with multiple elements, it is important to utilize combinations of keywords.

Organizing Claims

One way to generate an initial set of keywords is by organizing the target claim(s).  Below is an example of a first claim for a patent:

A monolithic battery charger comprising:

a step-down converter having a duty ratio in the range of approximately 10 to approximately 95 and comprising at least one monolithically formed buck-type regulator coupled to a capacitor and an inductor, wherein at least one monolithically formed buck-type regulator comprises a switching controller, a switch, and a rectifier in a standard buck configuration, and wherein the controller operates at a switching frequency of at least 1 megahertz; and

a battery-terminal interface connected to the step-down converter for providing an output current and an output voltage to a rechargeable battery.

These claims can be divided into sub-elements to drill down the specific features required for the claim. Notice that in each sub-feature, some key terminologies already appear.  These terminologies help to indicate which keywords are the most important.  The table below now shows an example of a set of initial keywords for this claim:

KEYWORDS CLAIMS
monolithic, battery, charger A monolithic battery charger comprising:
step-down converter, converter, duty ratio a step-down converter having a duty ratio in the range of approximately 10 to approximately 95
Buck-type regulator, buck regulator, capacitor, inductor and comprising at least one monolithically formed buck-typeregulator coupled to a capacitor and an inductor,
Switching controller, switch, rectifier, buck configuration wherein at least one monolithically formed buck-type regulator comprises a switching controller, a switch, and a rectifier in a standard buck configuration,
Switching frequency and wherein the controller operates at a switching frequency ofat least 1 megahertz; and
Battery terminal interface, step-down converter, rechargeable battery a battery-terminal interface connected to the step-down converter for providing an output current and an output voltage to a rechargeable battery.

 

The first line of the patent typically gives a clue to the specific type of technology being researched. In the example given above, the general area of technology is that of a battery charger. The next lines list more specific features of the battery charger.  The general terms are very helpful in learning about the technology.  However, this chart demonstrates that the technology is unique based on the detailed characteristics, such as “switching frequency” and “step-down converter.”  These are the elements that a relevant reference needs to include.