Monday, 21 November 2016

Associative semantic search technology: Omnity and IP

Our attention has recently been drawn to another potentially useful service for the intellectual property community. It's called Omnity and it claims to accelerate "the discovery of otherwise hidden, high-value patterns of interconnection within and between fields of knowledge as diverse as science, medicine, engineering, law and finance".

What does Omnity seek to add to the growing and increasingly sophisticated range tools for delivering and analysing information? As the company explains:
"In a rising sea of ever growing and increasingly fragmented knowledge, Omnity enables searchers to efficiently find related documents, even if those documents do not directly cite or link to one another.

This accelerates the discovery of otherwise hidden, high-value patterns of interconnection within and between fields of knowledge as diverse as science, medicine, engineering, law and finance.

Omnity is based on fundamental advances in associative semantic search technology, through which we create landscapes of meaning-based relationships arising from the semantic signatures of entire documents. In this manner, the knowledge contained within whole documents can be deeply inter-connected, solely through shared ideas".
Such a facility would presumably enable someone to find references to relevant patents, technologies and prior art on a far wider scale than has hitherto been the case. The legal, strategic and commercial implications of being able to do this, for litigation, negotiation, due diligence, investment and forward planning are sufficiently obvious for us not to need to list them here. 

From the company's website it's not apparent whether its technology and the documentary data it searches are directed to the English language alone or whether it is a one-size-fits-all- tongues operation.  There is a tiered fee structure, ranging from a number of services that are free to "public and academic" users, more costly for professional and executive use and by arrangement for use by enterprises.

Omnity's panel of seven advisers contains some big names (two Nobel laureates are listed), but what will interest businesses in the patent and innovation sphere is the presence of Robert Stoll, a former Commissioner of the US Patent Office and -- for good or ill -- one of the pilots of the America Invents Act. From this we would imagine that Omnity has its eyes on an intellectual property clientele, so we shall be interested to see what sort of mark it makes.

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