IBM Makes Patent Searching a Little Easier and Does NIH a Solid

IBM recently released a natural language search tool for global patent information (H/T WIRED Enterprise).  Called the Strategic IP Insight Platform, IBM intends to augment a cloud-delivered search capacity with human generated analysis to identify areas of potential conflict with existing intellectual property, or areas open for exploitation.

Also of note is the large donation IBM made to the National Institutes of Health related to this new platform (NIH).  IBM developed a database of over 2.4 million chemical compounds and their associated references in the intellectual property literature.  NIH will connect to the database, which relies on millions of patents and Medline abstracts, via its PubChem website.  This information will be available to the public.

Establishing a big database like this is perhaps more meaningful than you might think.  The amount of existing data is large enough that sorting and sifting through that information to find meaningful answers and relationships can be as challenging as research that would create ‘new’ knowledge.  Having a tool that has done much of the sorting already is an incredible labor-saving device.  Arguably work that helps scientists do their job faster and with fewer resources can help stretch research dollars.  And we’re going to need to stretch our research dollars.