Victor Green

35 years of searching excellence

Tel: +44(0)20 7269 9200


How We Search

▾Strategy construction

Strategy development proceeds through three main stages:

  • We resolve the subject matter of the brief into concepts that in combination capture the subject.
  • We collect effective synonyms, which may include classes and Registry Numbers, not only keywords. We are able to draw on our in-house Concept Library which records how we have expressed a very large number of search concepts over many years. Of course, the search terms derived from the Concept Library are always reviewed for their applicability to the search in hand.
  • We write Boolean and proximity combinations of the concepts, designed to reflect the concept relationships we detect in the subject matter. We often describe the resulting combinations as “two-way”, “three-way”, “four-way” etc, a shorthand that reminds us of the risks of non-retrieval each time we increase the n-tuple of the combination.

The analysts then work through the retrieval in a meticulous and thorough way to meet the high standards of precision that is required, e.g. by a freedom to operate request.

▾Databases and resources

We have access to not only the public databases and resources available to everyone, but also to the patent, scientific, technical and techno-commercial databases available from subscription platforms such as STN, PatBase, Questel•Orbit and ProQuest. Full use is made of the full-text and value-added databases available via these hosts and where appropriate, we search non-text parameters such as patent class, biosequence and chemical structure, images and numerical data. We have easy access to the British Library.

PatBase covers over 100 patent-issuing organisations. STN hosts more than 30 patent-related databases, providing bibliographic and family data on patents and utility models. Through this host we also have access to a further 200 bibliographic, factual and full-text databases containing or abstracting some 400 million individual documents, including journals, textbooks, conference proceedings, trade literature and dissertations.

For chemical and pharmaceutical-based searches, we typically use the CAS REGISTRY, CAPLUS, MARPAT, Derwent World Patents Index WPINDEX and Merged Markush Service (MMS) Databases, employing search techniques such as CAS Registry Numbers, chemical name fragments, molecular formulae and chemical structure searching.

For searches involving protein or nucleotide sequences, our database use is extended to include those hosted by STN (Clarivate Analytics’ GENESEQ database DGENE, CAS's REGISTRY file, WIPO's PCTGEN and SequenceBase's USGENE) or GQ Life Sciences’ GenomeQuest. This enables us to utilise the most appropriate search algorithm for each request. These databases take our search capabilities far beyond what is available on public databases such as GenBank.

We make use of the many online national registers and databases available (not just those offered in English). For instance, we are able to search designs in over 40 jurisdictions.

▾Patent classifications

Patent classifications provide an alternative approach to keywords. The Cooperative Patent Classification (CPC) classifies major industrial countries - chiefly Western Europe, the US and to some extent China and Japan - and achieves greater consistency than the International Patent Classification (IPC). It is usually searched in databases which may include the IPCs assigned by most countries, US Classes, German Classes, the Japanese FI Classes and F-Term Index codes, the superseded European Patent Classification (EPC) and the In Computer Only (ICO) Indexing codes of the EPO. Classification systems of individual countries may locate more extensive or precise results. Countries not covered by CPC may require the entire search to be IPC-based, sometimes only to group level. In many instances we use multiple classifications systems simultaneously, particularly when the classes are to be combined with keywords.

▾Other approaches

In addition to using classes, text and structures, we can search images and numerical parameters if required.

Citation searching may be included as part of any search, even a brief convergence search.

Technical subject areas

The technical expertise of our analysts enables them to master your subject area. Their expertise covers every major subject area and technology in the following sectors: Chemistry, Electronics, Engineering and Life Sciences.


  • Alloys
  • Chemical engineering
  • Chemistry
  • Cosmetics and detergents
  • Environmental technology
  • Fuels
  • Materials science
  • Metallurgy
  • Pharmaceuticals and pesticides
  • Polymers
  • Printing and inks


  • Automation and robotics
  • Blockchain and cryptocurrencies
  • Business processes
  • Computer software and engineering
  • Consumer and industrial electronics
  • Control systems
  • Electrical and electronic engineering
  • Home automation
  • Information technology
  • Internet of things
  • Internet-enabled technologies
  • Lighting systems
  • Measurement technologies
  • Medical technologies
  • Mobile telephony
  • Optics and photonics
  • Payment systems
  • Security for computers and communications
  • Semiconductors
  • Telecommunications


  • Aeronautics
  • Air conditioning and refrigeration
  • Animal husbandry
  • Automation and robotics
  • Building and construction
  • Conveyors and sorting equipment
  • Disability aids
  • Environmental technology
  • Exercise equipment
  • Food and drink
  • Machine tools
  • Magnet technology
  • Measurement technologies
  • Mechanical engineering
  • Medical devices
  • Medical technologies
  • Oilfield and pipeline technology
  • Packaging and containers
  • Paper and textiles
  • Power generation
  • Printing
  • Process equipment and engineering
  • Renewable energy systems
  • Vehicle technology

Life Sciences

  • Antibodies and vaccines
  • Biofuels
  • Biotechnology
  • Diagnostics
  • Life sciences
  • Medical devices
  • Medicine, surgery and prosthetics
  • Pharmaceuticals and pesticides