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Patent Search: a challenging problem for IR and NL

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If you have a question about this talk, please contact Thomas Lippincott.

To obtain a valid and defensible patent one must show that it describes an idea which has not been previously been publicly disclosed. The patent system is one of the underpinings of modern industry in many fields, allowing economic exploitation of the results of research and development, including producing tradable values, and is therefore of enormous economic importance.

A critical part of determining the value of a patent is to determine whether it describes real novelty: this a very complex search problem including cross-linguality, problems of vocabulary between different domains, wicked problems like patent obfuscation and so on.

The talk will outline current patent search practice and problems, focusing on the challenges for natural language processing and information retrieval. It will then go on to discuss some of the activities of the Information Retrieval Facility (a Vienna-based not-for-profit organisation which has focussed principally on patent retrieval to date), especially those involving making patent collections available to researchers, and evaluation of the effectiveness of patent search tools.

This talk is part of the NLIP Seminar Series series.

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