Document Difference (Doc Diff) Tool

Document Difference (Doc Diff) Tool

Doc Diff is a new tool in AcclaimIP for comparing differences between two patent documents. New buttons are located in the Claims tab and in the Analyze menu on the Document Details window.

AcclaimIP's Doc Diff tool let's you compare two patent documents side by side.

AcclaimIP’s Doc Diff tool let’s you compare two patent documents side by side.

Doc Diff keeps you focused on what changed or what is different between two patent documents, or even two claims in the same document. I think you’ll find that a patent review can be done in as little as half the time using Doc Diff. You’ll also pick up subtle differences between patent documents that you might have missed in the past. I’ve been using it for the past couple of weeks, and I have to say, that I can’t live without it now.

We are implementing Doc Diff as a Analyst only feature, but through September, we’ve added it to our Searcher seats as well. Check it out and see if it is worth the extra investment.

Key Features of Doc Diff

Compare any two patents side-by side
Comparing patent documents side-by-side is critical for most types of patent research work. Once you understand one claim it is easier to review the rest on the same document or in the patent family by focusing on the differences.

Access related documents with one click
All documents that you’ll likely want to compare are loaded by clicking the “View in Doc Diff” button located in the Claims sub-tab or from the DD Window’s Analyze button. You won’t waste time hunting for related documents.

Automated access to all family members
Doc Diff pulls up all family members so you can see how the patents evolved from application to grant, and differences between other family members like continuations and divisional patents.

Three comparison views
View patents in their un-marked state, in a side-by-side mark-up (my favorite) or an in-line mark-up similar to what you see when amended claims are filed

Auto claims matching
Doc Diff uses heuristics to determine the most similar claim (or part of document) to quickly match related claims to one-another. You’ll be surprised at how accurate it is. Auto claims matching can be turned on or off.

Claims similarity reporting by percentage and color code
Doc Diff gives you a thermometer chart, which indicates how similar the claims are between the two documents. Further, claims are colored from light gray to black depending on how similar they are to their auto-matched counterparts.

Lock windows
Similar to the document details window, the Doc Diff window refreshes with the most recent comparison request to reduce clutter on the AcclaimIP desktop. Like the DD and Image View windows, you can lock the Doc Diff window and view multiple instances at one time.

Flip Viewer Postion
Click the Invert Docs button in the toolbar to switch position of the two documents in focus.

Drag & Drop Interface
A D&D interface makes comparing all family members quick and intuitive. Just drag the family member from the left hand column to either one of the comparison columns.

Priority Gap
The Related Document column lists family members by their “Priority Gap” which is the time between the priority date of the patent family and the file date of the specific family member. It is easy to gain quick insight into how the patent family was built over time. You’ll also notice that serial pairs (a patent and its corresponding application) always share the same priority gap and are listed together.

Add Documents on the Fly
To add another document, and all its family members, just enter the number in the “Add Document” field and AcclaimIP will pull up a second patent family in the same Doc Diff window.

Common Uses

Compare patent to its parent application

Since we came out with the Doc Diff tool, I find that when I read claims, I want to see how the granted claims compare to the filed. When you first load Doc Diff, the default setting is to load the patent and its parent application.

I find that Doc Diff gives me insight into the file history without having to open the file wrapper.

Compare independent claims in the same patent

If you drag & drop the same patent in both columns of the Doc Diff tool, AND turn off the Auto Claims Matching feature, you can compare independent in the same patent.

Compare Specifications in CIPs

Load the family members of the CIP and see what changed in the specification of the continuation patent. This task is a bear without Doc Diff, and to properly evaluate a continuation in part, you have to understand which claims claim the earlier priority date, and earlier expiration date, and which claims are “new art” and have newer priority and expiration dates. Specifications can be really long and identifying the changes is very time consuming without Doc Diff.

Doc Diff handles patent specifications in a convenient way too. It breaks up specifications into their natural sub-sections such as:

  • Summary of the Invention
  • Field of the Invention
  • Background
  • Summary of the Figures
  • Detailed Description

With Auto Claim Matching on, Doc Diff will match up the correct sections of the specification, not just the claims.

Compare Continuations with Parent Patent

Drag a continuation patent (in the family list on the left) to one of the columns and compare it to the parent patent. You’ll see the differences. Some continuations are completely different, while others have subtle changes or specific applications of the original claimed invention.

Doc Diff is a Feature of the Analyst Plan, but…

Again,  Doc Diff tool is in the Analyst version of AcclaimIP, but through the rest of August and all of September 2016, we’ve turned it on in the Searcher edition. Take a look at Doc Diff and see if you think it is worth the upgrade to the Analyst plan.

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