Non-patent literature (NPL) searching is an essential part of the prior art search process. In addition to traditional NPL sources, such as, for example, INSPEC, IEEE Conference Proceedings, ACM Publications, and SPIE databases, Envision IP’s search team utilizes a variety of unconventional NPL sources for search requests that are highly technical in nature. For example, these search requests are usually related to telecommunications, signal processing, wireless standards, circuit logic, semiconductors, and software.
Some NPL sources that Envision IP has identified and routinely uses:
IBM Redbooks are technical guidebooks on how to use various IBM products, such as servers, routers, and sofware.
DSpace@MIT is Massachusetts Institute of Technology’s digital repository for academic, scientific, and research work. Many of the resources here have not been published by third-party journals, and are only available via the DSpace channel.
IDEALS at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign includes working papers, technical reports, or other research material submitted by faculty, staff, and graduate students related to their research and scholarship.
CaltechAUTHORS is a repository of over 22,000 research papers authored by California Institute of Technology faculty and researchers. It is updated continuously as departments and library staff add available and recently published documents.
In addition, when our clients are located outside of the United States, we access local academic repositories in the client’s native country. For example, we have access to the Australian National University Digital Collections, the Akita University Institutional Repository System in Japan, the Hong Kong Polytechnic University Institutional Repository, and the Imperial College of London Digital Repository, to name a few.
Also, with the increasing use of the Internet as a public discussion forum and channel to disseminate information, our search teams turn to various industry and technology specific blogs that are freely and publicly available. For example, we routinely browse Engadget, TechCrunch, The Verge, Slashgear, and GigaOM, not only to conduct prior art searches, but also to stay on top of the latest industry news and innovations that may be relevant to our clients’ businesses.
In summary, NPL searching should cast a wide net across many publicly available resources, not just the major journals and publication sources that are available at the USPTO STIC Library, and utilized by USPTO patent examiners.