Better Google Searches for IP lawyers

Better Google Searches for IP lawyers

We all know the Google Search page and we probably use it on a daily basis, mostly the Google standard search function and only occasionally the Google image search.

Here come eight (8) search tricks that help me a lot for my professional work in the areas of patents and trademarks. If they help me, they may also help you.

Use Chrome’s URL search bar as an instant dictionary

I use this feature for doing all kind of searches, when I am not clear about the search term to use. Instead of typing out full words to get their meaning and wasting time on a full page load, I am using the URL/search bar on the Chrome browser to instantly get definitions for longer and more complex words.

Example: I am currently working on a psychopathy test series which is designed for screening entrepreneurs, and scholarly articles seem to link the personality trait of primary psychopathy closely with the size of the amygdala gland in the human brain.

Type the four letters “amyg” into the Chrome Internet browser’s URL line – it won’t work in other Internet browser – and you will see the following result:

By doing so, you find not only search terms that relate to other functions of the amygdala gland, but also to “amygdalin” (from Ancient Greek: ἀμυγδαλή amygdálē “almond”) which is a naturally occurring chemical compound that is promoted as a cancer cure. It is found in many plants, but most notably in the seeds of apricot, bitter almonds, apple, peach, and plum.

This Google online instant dictionary helps me also to find appropriate search terms for prior art searches and when doing searches for existing business names and non-registered trademarks.

Limit the Google search to a specific website

I am using this function quite often. I suspect that someone – a trademark infringer or the owner of a trademark – is using the trademark on his webpage. I want to find out where on his webpage, but I want to exclude webpages of his customers from my search.

Example: The Siemens company has a SIMATIC division which is famous for industry automation. SIMATIC makes a Supervisory Control And Data Acquisition software which is branded “SCADA”, as an acronym for the purpose of the software.

Now compare yourself by doing two (2) test searches.

First, search for the use of the term “scada” within the Siemense website. Type in the term “site:” followed by the site’s domain name “” within your search query. This will narrow down the search results to those from that website only:

As you can see, Google Search has located 605 “scada” search results within the website.

For comparison, the unlimited Google Search locates 15.5 million “scada” search results within the Internet:

As you can see, two pictures say more than 1,000 words.

Search for readable files only, excluding webpages

If you want to search only files with specific content, but excluding webpages, add the search term “filetype:” followed by the corresponding file extension (eg. pdf, doc, ppt, mp4) to your search query.

Example: search for “filetype:ppt Primary Psychopathy”

and find this comprehensive overview about psychopathy and related personality traits

Note: Powerpoint presentations are a great source for retrieving condensed knowledge. There is an entire website dedicated to that purpose:

Limit your search time frame

Now that is a useful tool for patent attorneys: for limiting your search results to a certain time frame, use Google’s date range option.

Click on “Tools” after inputting your search query and click on “Any time”. From the drop down menu, you’ll be able to select your time frame, including the option to search within specific dates.

No further explanation needed for patent attorneys.

Narrow your search results using symbol operators

To narrow down your search results, use symbol operators to fine tune which keywords to have in your search.

Use the “–” symbol to omit specific terms and use the “+” symbol to always include specific keywords in your results.

Example: search web content about health aspects of apple fruits. To exclude the many Apple iPhone apps, search “+Apple -iphone”.

You can also do this multiple times within a single search, so search “+Apple -iphone +healthy”, etc.

Search whole phrases

In order to search entire phrases, begin and end your search query with quotation (“”) marks.

Fine tune your searches further with the advanced search option

I am using this option often for searches of business names and unregistered trademarks. For example, if you want to know whether someone is using the mark “MediFitness” in Singapore, narrow down your search based on the region “Singapore”.

Reverse Search of Images

Find Copyright infringers by using the “search by image” feature here

Click on the small camera icon at the end of the search bar in Google’s image search function. There will be an option to identify the image using its URL if its online, or you can upload a picture from your desktop:

Call to Action

Learn something new today and try out two or three of the Google search examples above.

Then bookmark this little article so that you find it later again when you need it.

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