How did we find prior-art in YouTube’s video demonstrations?

Have you ever heard of – hiding in plain sight? How often does one skip the details because they look pretty obvious? But, a more important question, why am I asking these questions?

I think it’s well understood that a keen eye is required for analyzing patents. A miss of a single result can be catastrophic. E.g., in litigation cases – a miss of a potential result may cost millions of dollars to a company.

Crises of a solid prior-art are no new struggle for any IP counsel or litigator. And in this article, I am going to narrate one of the cases where I had to find a needle (valid prior-art) in a haystack (domain literature) and how I did it with a magnet (YouTube videos)!

Background of the Case

In this case, I was dealing with web browsers, which used the concept of Site Isolation.

First, let me break down the core concept to justify why I followed the following set of strategies. Say, e.g., you logged into a website of Domain A. Now, while scrolling, you identify a link in the body of the website. When you click on it, you are directed to the website of Domain B. If the website of domain B contains phishing codes, it might scrape your user details from the previous website and corrupt your account. Thankfully, site isolation helps in preventing that from happening. Phew! [Here’s  how?]

The conventional approach to finding the prior-art

Like any researcher, I started the analysis by adopting the conventional approach. We had three days to find relevant results, and I dedicated the starting hours to conventional research.  I picked up terms from the subject patent and made strings based on that. Similarly, IPC/ CPC classes were used to calibrate the search strings. I used keywords, classes, inventor names, key assignees, etc. to get to the bottom. 

But this approach led to nothing; moreover, I realized a lot of time had passed with no relevant results. That being said, I did find patents for website security or changing domains, but I still felt a big void – void for a 102-type reference.

Revisiting the past for any missing leads

What could be done next? I was stuck but not defeated. After brainstorming with my mentor, we decided to step back and rescan through all the collected leads from the conventional search to ensure that nothing was missed.

And guess what? It proved to be the right move.

When I was doing the technology groundwork and learning about the patent in detail, I identified a few companies that initiated the work on this technology. I had shortlisted a potential lead that had bought the concept of Site Isolation. I put some strings on the web and found open-source browser projects/sites like Chromium, which contained design documents, architecture overviews, and testing information. All this information helped in working with the Chromium source codes. So, naturally, it made sense to explore all these documents. 

I pulled out my magnifying glass and my sharpest pair of tweezers and investigated them, but the documents that had popped up failed to reveal what we were looking for. I couldn’t find an overlap with the technology, and the deadline was approaching.

Binge-watching the Youtube video demonstrations for prior-art

Since we decided to go through the collected leads again, during this intricate investigation, I found a link to some video demonstrations of the Chromium Project in one of the documents! 

The first thought I had – if the documents did not disclose the essential concept, what would the video demonstrations present? But, I instinctively did not skip any link without being 100% sure.

So, I went ahead and started watching these videos. And to my surprise, there was a video demonstration featured on Youtube, which talked about site isolation implemented in The Chromium Projects. There it was, our top result, our 102 prior-art – Site Isolation: Summit – January 2015. My eureka moment! The result completely overlapped with the patent claim.

Preparing the claim chart for the client

The next challenge came – preparing a claim chart of this video with the claim. Luckily, I had some expertise in this area. So charting the video didn’t take much time for me. I used the video snapshots, marked the snaps, mapped them with the claims, and demonstrated them to the client.

Guess what?! Our client was impressed with how we presented our findings and our thought process for getting to the prior art.

I learned something that day – Never underestimate any source for searching. Ever since then, searching for video demonstrations has been a tactic I often adopt – one of the recommended tactics in the patent analyst’s black book.

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Authors: Raima Ghosh, Shivam Kansra, and Nikhil Gupta

  • Debopam Das

    Great work people. Quite innovative. Keep up the good work.

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