Span Match arose from meeting David Goodchild while we were in Madrid. David's company, David Goodchild Ltd, specialises in patent information for the metals industries and he had a particular problem searching for ranges of the elements used in alloys which are specified in patent claims. We worked together to produce a solution, and decided this was of general interest to the patent search community, so submitted a co-authored proposal.
One very important feature is the speed of response. The file size of the full report is 3.5mb, processing 8652 claims containing one or more of the search specification elements, from 1400 patents in a single file of 7.5mb, in 10 seconds. No index is used, so the coverage is exhaustive, with every claim in each patent being read in a linear fashion, as we do as humans.
The 1400 patents in the input data are being collected using Questel Orbit by David Goodchild, using regular keyword/boolean queries and an output specification, saved in UTF-8.
The input query is a simple UTF-8 plain text file. It contains this:
No further query construction is needed.
The process is linear, so the time taken is dependent on three elements:
- The complexity of the specification
- The number and length of the claims in each patent
- The quantity of matching to record and display.
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