How to do a Patent Keyword Search

Here is a keyword searching technique that I have been teaching for the past year or so.  Everybody who learns this method says it changes their approach to patent searching.  It eliminates all guesswork, and gets you to your answer quickly.

Why learn the technique:

  • Easy to Learn
  • Repeatable for any concept
  • Only takes about 10 minutes per concept
  • You don’t have to be an expert in the technology
  • Re-usable for future searches
  • Comprehensive–you’ll be confident you found all the related patents.
  • It’s frankly impressive to those who don’t know the technique (like your boss)


  1. Search for the broad general concept
  2. Narrow to one clearly related class
  3. NOT (Boolean) out the original concept
  4. Find synonyms to the original concept and add them to your “NOTTED” list
  5. Repeat until you have found 99% of all patents in the class
  6. Remove NOT and Class restrictions and view all patents containing any of these synonyms for your original concept
  7. Save the keyword search to re-use in the future


  • Use a thesaurus
  • Summon a committee to brainstorm related concepts
  • Talk to a technical expert for advice.  You won’t need it

I hope you take a moment to learn this easy process.  I think once you’ve done it one time, you’ll find it is easy, repeatable, and increases the quality of your searches by a large margin.

–Matt Troyer


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