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How to Master the Art of Reading Google Patents: A Comprehensive Guide

How to Master the Art of Reading Google Patents: A Comprehensive Guide

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If you’ve ever attempted to read and understand patents filed by Google, you know it can be a daunting task. The technical language and complex concepts can easily lead to misunderstandings. However, with the right approach, you can develop a solid understanding of what these patents are about and avoid common mistakes. In this comprehensive guide, we will walk you through five easy steps to help you unravel the mysteries of Google patents and become a master at reading them.

Step 1: Dive Deep, Don’t Just Scan

One of the most common mistakes people make when reading patents is approaching them as if they’re on a treasure hunt. They scan the document, looking for tidbits and secrets about Google’s algorithms. However, this approach is flawed. To truly understand a patent, you need to read it, not just scan it. Treat it as a comprehensive piece of information that requires your full attention. By reading the entire patent, you will gain a deeper understanding of its context and meaning.

Step 2: Grasp the Context

A patent is like an elephant, made up of multiple sections that are all important in understanding the patent as a whole. Each section contributes to the context of the patent and helps paint a complete picture. Just as understanding the different parts of an elephant helps us comprehend the entire animal, reading all sections of a patent is crucial for a comprehensive understanding. By reading the entire patent multiple times, you will be able to step back and see the bigger picture, rather than focusing on isolated parts.

Step 3: Not All Patents Are About Ranking

One important rule to remember is that not every patent filed by Google is about ranking websites. Google Search is a complex system composed of various algorithms and engines. While ranking is one aspect, there are many other components involved. It’s essential to recognize that a patent may focus on different elements of search, such as the indexing engine, query reviser engine, or modification engine. Understanding this fact will prevent you from drawing incorrect conclusions about a patent’s purpose.

Step 4: Embrace Abstraction

When reading patents, it’s crucial to grasp the concept of abstraction. Many patents use terms like “entity” or “entities” repeatedly, creating the impression that the patent is solely about those entities. However, this assumption can lead you astray. In reality, these terms are often used as catch-all phrases to encompass a broad range of items or subjects. Patents cast a wide net to cover different types of content or objects, allowing for versatile applications. Don’t get caught up in the literal interpretation of these terms; instead, focus on the functionality and application of the invention.

Step 5: Unveiling the Anatomy of a Patent

To become proficient at reading patents, it’s essential to familiarize yourself with their structure. Every patent consists of several parts, each serving a specific purpose. Let’s take a closer look at these sections:


The abstract provides a concise summary of the patent, giving an overview of the invention’s nature and purpose. It’s crucial not to skip this part, as it offers valuable insights into what the patent is about.


The background section provides context for the invention, explaining its relevance within a specific field. It helps you understand where the invention fits into the larger picture.


The summary offers a more detailed overview of the invention, going beyond the abstract. While it may delve into intricate details, focus on the primary objectives and features to grasp the invention’s essence.

Brief Description of the Drawings:

In patents that include illustrations, this section explains what each drawing represents. Pay attention to these descriptions, as they provide valuable information about the invention’s function.

Detailed Description of the Patent:

This section provides an in-depth explanation of the invention, often using the illustrations as a guide. It covers technical aspects, functionality, and potential applications. While it may seem overwhelming, absorb the ideas and get a general feel for the invention.

Embodiment Examples:

This section presents specific examples of how the invention can be used. The term “embodiment” refers to different implementations or applications of the invention. It helps you understand the invention in practical terms.


The claims section is the legal aspect of the patent. It defines the scope of protection sought by the patent and provides insights into what makes the invention unique. Don’t skip this part, as it offers valuable information about the invention’s novelty.


The citations section lists other patents relevant to the invention. It acknowledges similar inventions while emphasizing the differences and improvements of the present invention.

By understanding the anatomy of a patent, you’ll be better equipped to navigate through its various sections and extract the essential information.

Tips for Mastering the Art of Reading Patents

Reading patents requires practice and a systematic approach. Here are some additional tips to help you become proficient:

  1. Research beyond the patent: Use Google Patent’s optional ‘non-patent literature’ Google Scholar search to find articles that reference or support your understanding of a patent. Building context by reviewing connected patent and non-patent citations, as well as related patents by the same authors, can enhance your comprehension.

  2. Patents have their language: Patents follow a specific structure and use formal language. Treat them like learning a second language, and take the time to understand the technical terms and phrases used.

  3. Don’t be discouraged: Reading patents can be challenging, but don’t be disheartened. With practice, you’ll become more adept at deciphering their contents and understanding their implications.

  4. Embrace deep understanding: Reading a patent isn’t just about finding clues for algorithmic insights. It’s about grasping the invention’s purpose, functionality, and potential applications. Focus on absorbing the ideas and gaining a holistic understanding.

  5. Think beyond the patent: Patents are interconnected, and understanding one patent often requires knowledge of related patents. Explore different patents by the same inventors to gain a broader perspective on their work.

By adopting these tips and practicing your patent reading skills, you’ll develop a level of understanding that surpasses many in the SEO industry.

See first source: Search Engine Journal

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1. Why is it important to read and understand patents filed by Google?

Understanding Google patents is crucial for gaining insights into their technology, algorithms, and innovations, which can be valuable for SEO and tech analysis.

2. What are the five easy steps to reading Google patents effectively?

The five steps are:

  1. Dive Deep, Don’t Just Scan
  2. Grasp the Context
  3. Not All Patents Are About Ranking
  4. Embrace Abstraction
  5. Unveiling the Anatomy of a Patent

3. Why is it important to read the entire patent rather than scanning it?

Reading the entire patent helps you gain a deeper understanding of its context and meaning, which is essential for comprehensive comprehension.

4. Are all parts of a patent equally important for understanding it?

Yes, each section of a patent contributes to the context and overall understanding of the invention. It’s crucial to read all sections to paint a complete picture.

5. What is the key rule to remember when reading Google patents about their purpose?

Not every patent filed by Google is about ranking websites. Google’s search system involves various components, so it’s important to recognize that patents may focus on different elements of search.

6. What is the concept of abstraction in patent reading?

Abstraction in patent reading refers to understanding that terms like “entity” or “entities” are often used broadly to encompass a range of items or subjects. Focus on the functionality and application rather than literal interpretation.

7. What are the different sections in the anatomy of a patent, and why are they important?

The sections include Abstract, Background, Summary, Brief Description of the Drawings, Detailed Description of the Patent, Embodiment Examples, Claims, and Citations. Each serves a specific purpose in explaining the invention’s nature, context, function, and legal aspects.

8. Why is it important not to skip the Claims section of a patent?

The Claims section defines the scope of protection sought by the patent and provides insights into what makes the invention unique. It offers valuable information about the invention’s novelty.

9. What are some additional tips for mastering the art of reading patents effectively?

Additional tips include researching beyond the patent, understanding the formal language used in patents, not getting discouraged by the complexity, focusing on deep understanding, and exploring related patents by the same inventors.

10. How can reading patents benefit those in the SEO industry and tech analysis?

Reading Google patents can provide valuable insights into the company’s technology and algorithms, helping SEO professionals and tech analysts stay updated and make informed decisions.

Featured Image Credit: Photo by Markus Winkler; Unsplash – Thank you!

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