Expert Patent Searchers Think Logically
Performing patent and technical literature searchers for corporations and law firms requires a logical, structured approach. This is where the science of patent searching comes in to play. In this article, we cover the importance of logical thinking to the success of excellent searchers in delivering the results that customers need.
Why is Being Logical So Important?
Like a Nobel Prize-winning scientist pursuing research based on the scientific method, excellent searchers must approach every project with a logical mindset. This allows them to optimize the use of their time, complete projects within budget, and find the best available references for their customers.
At the most basic level, an excellent searcher ensures a logical approach by adhering to the search strategy that defines the scope and approach for the project. The universe of patent and non-patent literature is vast and growing daily. Every search is going to produce many documents that require review.
A poor searcher who wanders where the mood takes them will fail to deliver the results that the customer requires. It is possible that such a searcher may occasionally uncover good results, but this would be based solely on luck, rather than on expertise, and ultimately would not be defensible to the customer.
However, it is important to understand that a logical approach is not the same as a rote and formulaic methodology. The search strategy defines the keywords that drive the search and the tools and resources to be targeted in pursuit of the best results. Like a great scientist, the excellent searcher will apply their creative thinking skills within a logical framework to surface the very best results. They will make adjustments based on interim results, but will continue to operate within the structure provided by the search strategy.
Why is Being Logical a Must Throughout the Search Process?
Logical thinking based on the defined search strategy drives every aspect of every search. Some search vendors use what we call the “spaghetti approach” – they throw terms at the wall and see what sticks. This approach will inevitably produce poor results due to the lack of logical thinking applied.
Some of the key steps where logical thinking is critical include:
- Developing the search strategy, including defining keywords, the types of searches to be performed and in what order, and the specific resources to incorporate
- Performing the search based on the defined keywords and approach
- Ensuring a thorough, comprehensive search that includes all resources that should have been reviewed based on the scope
- Reviewing and evaluating the search results
- Preparing the report of the search results
Unlike many of our competitors, CPA Global provides our search strategy to the customer with every report we deliver. Having the opportunity to review our search strategy allows our customers to evaluate our approach – essentially providing a roadmap that helps explain our results. The net result of this rigorous approach means our customers are able to act with confidence when using our search results as the basis for critical legal and business decisions.
Can Being Logical Be Taught?
Scientific method can be taught…but this doesn’t make every scientist great. Equally, logical thinking is a critical characteristic for excellent searching, but this is not a skill with which every prospective searcher is born.
At CPA Global, however, we use extra care to work with our search team to give logical thinking the focus that it requires (and deserves!). We recruit for this core trait during our hiring process for new searchers. We communicate the importance of logical thinking to successful searches as a key component of the training program that we provide for all our searchers. And we nurture this skill through ongoing professional development, peer support and on-the-job feedback.
The logical approach embedded in our search strategies ensures that managers can easily review and assess the logical flow of any search, determining what was done and whether the searcher performed the search in accordance with the defined strategy. If such a review uncovers a shortfall in logical thinking, we will provide that feedback to the searcher, allowing them to improve their approach going forward.
Logical thinking is at the core of every successful search and is a critical skill for every excellent searcher. It offers a framework that helps our searches achieve the “Eureka!” moment when they locate the best possible reference, which in turn delivers the very best outcome to our valued clients.