Searching the US Patent and Trademark Office for gold begins with the patent search page - also referred to as “blue and pink” (the colors may change every few years so be alert). Searching issued patents and pending patent applications
Searching issued patents:
Under “blue”, select Quick Search
The basic search strategy is to search the name of the company holding the patent (the Assignee Name) while simultaneously searching the patent Abstract for high technical terms associated with the invention. This is where patent searching strongly deviates from the description most recruiters use when sourcing.
In patent searching, 3-5 years experience or great communication skills simply don’t come into play; it’s the highly technical elements – the true geek speak that recruiters abhor – that are used in the search.
The beauty of the patent database is that you can search for people using a litany of terms including the aforementioned Assignee Name, Inventor Name, and where the inventor lives including the Inventor City, Inventor State, and Inventor Country and finely tune the size of your bullseye.
Searching can even use complex Boolean searches; will show later.
Finding people to recruit
Let’s assume you’re tasked with sourcing RF engineers out of Broadcom
In “blue”, enter COMPANY in the Term 1 field and toggle Field 1 down to Assignee Name; enter RF in the Term 2 field and toggle Field 2 down to Abstract. Click on the Search button.
When the results page comes up – in this example you received 194 hits – change ABST/rf to ABST/(rf OR “radio frequency”); different patent attorneys have differing opinions on the use of acronyms. Click on the Refine Search button; you now have 219 hits. Booleans are Booleans no matter where you place them.
Click on the first patent. You now see the names of three inventors and where they live. Recruiting Made Simple… PIPL or ZABASEARCH them for their contact info.
Short digression: The order of the names on patents makes a difference and it depends upon the philosophy of the company. Typically the lead inventor is first with the others names following in order of input. But in some companies, the head of technology goes first. No egos here, eh? Some companies believe that all are created equal so the names appear in alphabetical order.
But I like to know something about the person before I call them. So let’s examine Ronald Mahany…
Oops, found one of the links that mentioned he passed. It would not have looked good to call only to find out that Ron was no longer with us.
The other basic element of patent searching for people is to look at the section of the patent entitled, Referenced By; these are the documents used by the patent examiner to assess the novelty of the invention. Pay particular attention to the most recent patents cited; these are also sources of people who are most likely to be creative in the areas you’re sourcing. Then there is the treasure trove of sources under the section Other References.
The same techniques are used to identify people within a specific company who have some connection to the people you want to place.