CFL Software

Elliot's Blog

Tales of an intern

Our time at the 3rd Cambridge Information & Intellectual Property Meeting

On Wednesday 11th July 2018, David Woolls and I attended the 3rd Cambridge Information & Intellectual Property Meeting (CIIPM) at Homerton College, Cambridge. There, we hosted the first ever CIIPM workshop: ‘Why can I believe this? Using automation to support FTO and Invalidity searching’. At this workshop, we unveiled two new programs: SpanMatch and Patent Reader. The former lets you identify patents which use similar ranges of elements and compounds; the latter lets you identify patents which are similar by using the entire claim as a search. Further information about SpanMatch can be found here and further information about Patent Reader can be found here.

The reception to both programs was exciting: we had people asking for demos and for further information regarding the programs throughout the day. We were also able to show the programs to a wider audience later on when David gave a talk to all guests at CIIPM.

What caught my attention whilst we there was how wide the field of Information and Intellectual Property is: there were companies advertising search engines which yielded more information than Google, how to value intellectual property, and how to protect intellectual property. What was most interesting, however, was where CFL fitted in. Finding the easiest way to search for similar patents is a hard problem and the solution to this problem will be beneficial to everyone in the field. This software that we at CFL have developed successfully addresses this problem head-on and the solution we are providing was described as potentially ‘life-changing’ by someone at CIIPM.

Beyond our work at CIIPM, David and I ended up on a number of misadventures across Cambridge. After arriving the day before, we decided to have a wander around the streets and find the river; instead, however, we ended up doing laps and laps around the same buildings trying to find the river. This, as it later turned out, was not the last test of our navigation skills: later that evening, after finding somewhere to eat (and eating a whole rack of ribs), we managed to yet again take laps and laps around the same buildings trying to re-find our hotel. Getting home the day after posed even further problems: in the middle of trying to watch the England v Croatia game (there’s always 2022 right?), I ended up facing not one, not two, but three delayed trains which resulted in me missing my connection home. Thankfully, I managed to get a train close to my little Yorkshire village and got picked up from there.

Since our trip, David has been on a whirlwind tour that has taken him from the Shard to Oxford. If you have any queries about our patent-searching programs, please visit the links above, our website, or contact us at:

Elliot Holmes