Results/The Hit List

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The Hit List

Search History Displayed Before Results List

By default, the results list is displayed after conducting a search, but the user can also select from the User Settings to display the search history menu directly after conducting a search. When this option is selected, the search history will appear in a separate tab for each collection: Full Text merged in families (FamPat), Bibliography by country (PlusPat), and Full Text by Publication. The most recent query displays first, and each query listed includes the query number, number of results, strategy, search form ("Assistant"), and collection searched.

From the search history menu, the user can click to display the results ("show") or edit the search strategy ("modify").[1] Search queries can also be saved, turned into alerts, or deleted from the search history menu. Finally, search queries can also be combined from this menu by entering the query numbers combined by Boolean operators and parentheses in the command line at the bottom of the form (e.g., "(1 OR 2) NOT 3"). See the Managing Search Histories section for more information on this feature.

Choose to view the search history directly after conducting a search. Modify the query, view results, or combine past queries from this menu.

editors note iconEditor's Note:

The option to view the search history and thereby view the number of results is a useful feature on the Orbit platform, since it gives users an intermediate display to identify if their search returned an adequate number of results before they display the full hit list. This search history menu is also a very important tool for creating an iterative search strategy by combining past queries. Users always have the option to turn off this intermediate display from the User Settings, if they rather just view the hit list directly.

Results List (Xpert Module)

Display Options

After the user conducts the search (and selects to view the results from the search history menu, if the history is selected to be displayed before the results), the hit list displays in batches of 25 documents per page.[2] This number of results per page can be changed in the User Settings, and up to 200 records can be displayed per page. The search strategy and number of results are automatically displayed at the top of the screen in a tab directly above the search results.

The search result list is divided into seven columns: Number of document, Selection box for document, an icon indicating if a FamPat record is included in a work file, Title, Original or Current Assignee(s), Publication number and Earliest priority date.[2] Users can sort the Title and Original or Current Assignee(s) columns in ascending or descending alphabetical order, and the earliest priority date column is sortable chronologically in ascending or descending order. Click the header of the column to sort, and the sorting function is limited to 2,500 results. Delete columns from the list by right clicking on the header of a column, mousing over the "Columns" section of the resulting drop-down menu, and selecting or de-selecting the check boxes beside each column name (at least one column must be included).[1]

Option to sort a particular column (title) and and a menu of available columns to add or delete.

Besides the list of results (which will always be displayed on the hit list page), users can choose to expand or hide a menu column on the far left side of the page and a preview pane, containing multiple tabs, on the right side of the page. The left column includes a menu (under the "Menu" tab) where users can navigate to all search menus, session history, past histories, saved searches, and recent lists.

A patent result list with both the left side menu and preview pane expanded.

Under the "My Lists" tab, users can view a directory of saved lists. The preview pane on the right side of the screen displays information related to the currently selected result in the hit list. Information is organized under a variety of tabs, which the user can add or hide by selecting the "+" icon on the far right side of the pane. From this menu, the user can choose to add or hide the following tabs:[2]

  • Preview (FamPat, Pluspat and Fulltext): Title, Abstract, Publication Number, First Page Image of the Representative Member of the Family, Inventor(s), Assignee(s), Assignee(s) History, Original Applicant and the Representative(s). “Published as” displays the FamPat family with Publication Numbers, Publication Dates, Kind Codes and Description of the kind code. Also displayed are links for PDF copies, mosaics, citation reports, file histories, a link to national registers, and links to patent US litigation. European (ECLA and ICO), International (IC, ICCA, ICAA), US (PCL), and Japanese (FI and F-term) Classifications are displayed, and you can access class/code definitions by clicking the code (in blue). Priority details are also displayed, and by clicking on a publication number of a cited patent, you display its information in a new window.
  • Drawings (FamPat, Pluspat and Fulltext): Mosaic Designs (PDF Format).
  • Image (FamPat, Pluspat and Fulltext): Front Page Image. You can zoom with the + button.
  • Claims (FamPat and Fulltext): The Representative Family Member claims are shown.
  • Description (FamPat and Fulltext): The Representative Family Member description is shown.
  • Key Info (FamPat): Key content for the Representative Member Is Shown. Key content contains the patent object, advantages and drawbacks and independent claims for US, EP and WO documents published in English.
  • Concepts (FamPat): Key concepts of patents are extracted with language technologies from the Full Text of the patent publications for US, EP and WO documents published in English. The larger the characters and the brighter the blue coloring, the more important the concept.
  • Full Text (FamPat and Fulltext): The Representative Family Member full text is shown.
  • KWIC (FamPat, Pluspat and Fulltext): All searched fields containing your key words are displayed. Key words are surrounded by three lines; this is the context of key words. All abstracts, claims, key content etc… of all the FamPat family can be displayed.
  • Legal status (FamPat, Pluspat and Fulltext): Legal status data from the Patent Register Service (PRS) of the European Patent Office and a link to data from Nomura Research Institute (NRI) in Japan (separate subscription). See the Legal Status Information section of this report for more information.
  • Timeline (beta) (FamPat): Legal status events (from Legal status tab) are displayed into a timeline graph and for each family equivalent. Placing your cursor on a symbol displays a tooltip with event and number (filing, application, etc.) Placing your cursor on a color bar displays the event, number and date. Color signification is indicated under the graph.
  • Citations (FamPat and Pluspat): This tab displays the family table (“Published as”), Cited and Citing Patents. For each Citation (Cited or Citing), the Title, Publication Number, Publication Date, Assignee(s), Relevancy Codes and Link are present. By clicking on publication number of cited/citing patent, you display its information in a new window.
  • Search History (FamPat, Pluspat and Fulltext): you can display your current search history. Number of the query, number of results, script of the query, type of assistant and name of the collection searched are indicated. By clicking on the number of results in blue, you display the corresponding results.

It should be noted that users can specify the language and authority options for the representative family member under the User Settings, and data displayed in the hit list and in the tabs are based on these criteria.[2]

Add selected tabs to the preview pane.

Within the preview pane, select a different tab to view additional information on the currently selected record in the hit list. For instance, view bibliographic details about the record under the Preview tab, and then choose the Drawings tab to view mosaics for the record.

Choose a different tab in the preview pane to view additional details about a selected patent record from the search results.

Expand or collapse the left column and right preview pane by selecting the double arrow icons on the left and right sides of the hit list, above the search results. Click and drag the dividing line between the hit list and the column or preview pane to widen or narrow the column or pane.[2]

Results list with both the left side menu and preview pane collapsed.

editors note iconEditor's Note:

The hit list screen provides very flexible viewing features, which will be useful for experienced searchers who want to customize their hit list to facilitate quick reviewing of results for relevance. If users are conducting a mechanical search, for instance, they can customize the display of their results page to only display mosaics for each result in the hist list, while simultaneously viewing representative images in the preview pane. The preview pane with multiple tabs is another valuable tool for facilitating rapid review of results, since the user can view virtually all of the content of the full record for a result without actually taking the time to navigate to the full record view. The only downside to this flexibility is that less experienced users may be overwhelmed by the variety and complexity of the display options, and some useful tools may therefore be overlooked. Orbit does provide help to users through the labels that appear when mousing over certain features and through small help icons beside some menus, but these icons are not very prominent and may be overlooked, too.

Sort, Filter, and Selection Options Directly Above the Hit List

Directly above the hit list (and below the main menu of options), users can access a number of sort, filter, and selection options which can be applied to the hit list results:[2]

A number of options are displayed below the tab listing the search query, including the option to select or clear the check boxes for all results, a tool to find similar patents, sorting options (including by relevance), and the option to enter the search criteria in Google Scholar.

  • Select all results/Clear selection - Users need to select the check box beside a result to export, rank, analyze, or save the result to a work file or list. The document you are currently viewing (which is displayed in the preview pane) is highlighted in blue in the hit list, and documents that have selected check boxes are highlighted yellow. All other documents in the hit list have a white background. Select the check box in the header column to automatically select or de-select the current page of records. Click the "Select all results" option to automatically select all records in the result list, or select "Clear selection" to automatically clear all selected records. The number of results selected is displayed below the "Select all results/Clear selection" link.

Examples of a result that is currently being viewed (blue background), a selected result (yellow background), and an un-selected result (white background).

  • More like this - Search for additional records similar to the selected patent records (expand query) or restrict the search to records similar to the selected records (narrow query).

For selected results, choose to search for additional similar patents or restrict results to similar patents.

  • Sort by relevance (FamPat and PlusPat) - Relevance is calculated with an algorithm based on combination of followings parameters: fields containing key words, proximity of key words in document and the presence of key words in FamPat family members. The relevancy sorting is limited to a maximum of 65,000 results and is not available when KWIC is selected for the hit list content.

editors note iconEditor's Note:

Orbit doesn't provide a very wide variety of sorting options, especially when compared to the numerous sort features available on other patent search platforms like PatBase and TotalPatent. does at least include a relevance ranking tool, which is a feature included on most major patent search platforms.

  • Filter - Filter the entire result set by publishing authority, document legal status, litigation (US only), or patent expiration date. This option is only available for FamPat.[3]

Filtering options for the hit list.

editors note iconEditor's Note:

The option to filter results by legal status is a unique tool on Orbit that allows users to quickly locate all alive or dead documents in a result set. Users can also filter records by whether US family members are the subject of litigation.

  • Google Scholar - Select the Google Scholar icon above the search results to expand the query to the Google Scholar search form. There, the user can view scientific literature search results based on the query criteria. See an example of the search criteria transferred to Google Scholar (and the non-patent literature results from the search) in the screenshot below.

Search criteria is entered in Google Scholar in order to locate additional non-patent literature.

Keyboard Shortcuts and Help Menu

A number of keyboard shortcuts can be used when browsing through search results. Select the small "R" icon above the preview pane to view all available shortcuts:

  • Up - Previous element
  • Down - Next element
  • Space - Select/Unselect current element
  • Return - Open document view
  • Tabulation - Next page
  • R - Show results
  • H - Search history
  • M - Add to list
  • W - Add to workfile
  • S - Edit current search
  • N - New search
  • A - Create alert
  • P - Show printer friendly version
  • T - Translate
  • V - Show or hide preview pane

Beside the "R" icon is a small "?" icon which the user can select to open a help page, which describes all the tools and options available on the hit list.

Keyboard shortcut list and help menu icon on the hit list page.

editors note iconEditor's Note:

Like the flexible display options, the keyboard shortcuts are a useful tool for facilitating rapid review of a results set. Users can quickly move through the results set using the keyboard shortcuts, viewing the selected results in the preview pane before moving on to the next result.

Main Menu Options

The main menu located at the very top of the hit list screen provides users with a wide range of options for displaying, saving, exporting, analyzing, translating, highlighting, and comparing search results. Users can additionally save the search strategy or schedule the strategy as an alert. Many of these options are only available after a user has selected one or more results. If a menu option is not currently available, it will appear grayed-out and unclickable.

Main menu of options for selected search results and the entire hit list, including display format, printer friendly version of results, saving selected results, adding results to "patent copies," export options, finding top assignees/classes/concepts, translation options, highlighting options, compare two documents, save the search strategy, schedule the search strategy as an alert, or analyze results.

Options available from the main menu include:[2]

  • Display - Change the layout (short hitlist, detailed hitlist, 1st page drawing, or drawing mosaic) and content (abstract/drawing, first page, or Kwic) for the results list. See the Display Formats section of this report for more information on this feature.

Options for layout and contents of result list.

  • Show a printer friendly view - Open a new window containing a printer-friendly view of the results list, along with the option to print the page.

A printer-friendly version of the result list.

  • Archive - Save selected results to a workfile, list, or the Quicklist. See the Flagging Results section for more information on lists and the Quicklist, and see the Saving Results section for more information on workfiles.

Save selected results to workfile, list, or Quicklist.

  • Patent Copies - Select to receive patent copies (PDFs) for selected records by email, add results to "my document copies," or open your current portfolio of PDF copies. See the Viewing Patent Drawings section of this report for more information on this feature.

Recieve selected results as PDFs or add them to the "patent copies" portfolio.

  • Export - Choose to export selected results in a variety of formats (TXT, PDF, RTF, XLS, XLSX, CSV, XML, email (permalinks), Bizint, VantagePoint, Ris export, or Intellixir.) See the Export Functions section of this report for more information on this feature.

Export options for selected results.

  • Top - This tool will analyze selected results to create a list of top assignees, top ECLA classes, top US classes, top IPC classes, top FI terms, top F-terms, or top concepts (FamPat). If the result contains more than 500 documents, the sample size is increased proportionally up to a maximum of 1,000 documents. Results display in a new page and show the top fifty assignee/classes/concepts for the selected result set. The frequency is indicated for each term, and if classifications have been ranked, you may access the definitions by clicking on the code (in blue).[4] Users can select assignees/classes/concepts via check box and choose to:[4]
    • Refine previous search (Assignees)
    • Refine previous search by extending to selected classes (equivalent to OR operator) (Classifications)
    • Refine previous search by limiting to selected classes (equivalent to AND operator) (Classifications)
    • Use for a new search (Concepts)

Create a list of top assignees/classes/concepts for selected results.

A list of the top 50 USPC codes based on selected results. Select a code to view the definition.

  • Citations - Select up to 10,000 documents and search for all cited patents, citing patents, or cited/citing patents related to selected documents. For cited and citing patents, you can select the relevancy code (any category, X, Y, X or Y). When the citation search is finished, a new hit list is displayed.[5] See the Viewing Patent Citations section of this report for more information on searching and viewing citations through Orbit.

Choose to search for cited, citing, or cited/citing patents for the selected results.

  • Translate - Use Google Translate to translate the text of the currently selected record (for the text in the tab of the preview pane that is currently being viewed). Users can translate the text into over 40 languages (see the language selection menu in the screenshot below). The text will appear translated in a new window, and users can mouse over the translated text to view a pop-up text box containing the original-language text. Users can choose to print or close this text translation page.

Translate a selected record into a variety of languages using machine translation (Google Translate).

A translated record (from English to Japanese).

  • Highlight - Select the highlighting icon in the main menu to turn highlighting on or off (the icon will be highlighted orange when active). Choose the drop-down arrow beside the icon to open the Highlight Wizard menu. Use the Highlight Wizard to define and save a custom highlighting scheme using up to six colors. Highlighting will be applied to all terms chosen in the text part of the references. It does not apply to the PDF. The parameters chosen for highlighting will apply to all the references in the search results. Highlighting is applied to all the terms in the selected color box, and all forms of truncation mat be used on terms within the Highlight Wizard. Operators are not supported in highlighting.[6]

    To save a highlight profile, give it a name and click the save icon. View previously saved profiles using the drop-down menu under "My profiles." Saved profiles can be edited, erase (using the "X" icon, or applied to the current search.[6]

Select which keywords to highlight in which color for search results through the Highlight Wizard.

  • Compare - The Compare function allows comparison of the claims and description of two documents in FamPat or Fulltext search results. It can be used to compare two members of the same family or two publication stages of the same member, or it can be used to compare two documents from different families. After choosing the "Compare" option, a menu will open where the user must first select one record from the list and then choose "Select on left" to apply that record to the left side of the comparison. Then, choose the family member or publication stage for the record from the drop-down menu. The same process will apply to the "Select on right" option (choose record from list, click "select on right," and choose publication stage/family member from drop-down menu). After the two publications are chosen for the left and right sides, click the "Compare" button to to view a new window displaying the text comparisons for claims and descriptions of the two publications.[7]

    Choose to compare two records from the hit list.

    In the Compare window, Claims tabs are displayed by default, but the user can choose the Descriptions tab to view the comparison of the description text for the two publications. The differences between the two documents are flagged with highlighting: Pink for the document to the left and green for the right document. Identical information is on a grey background. Use the central bar between the two documents to navigate from one highlight to the next. In FamPat, the family numbers dropdown list is always available so that you can select other family members to compare.[7]

    Compare the text of the claims or the descriptions of two patent records.

  • Save - Save the current search strategy. See the Managing Search Histories section of this report for more information on this feature.
  • Alert - Set up an alert using the current search strategy. See the Alerts section of this report for more information on this feature.
  • Analyze - Use analysis tools on selected results. See the Analyzing Results section of this report for more information on this feature.

editors note iconEditor's Note:

Orbit provides a wide variety of options for analyzing results, and the "Top" feature and "Compare" tool accessible directly from this menu are two excellent examples of unique value-added analysis tools available on the Orbit platform. The ability to create lists of top assignees/classifications/concepts based on selected results is a useful way to filter the result set or extend the query, since the user can find relevant classifications and limit or extend the search based on selected classifications. The compare feature may be useful for viewing the changes between the claims/descriptions of two publication stages, or for comparing the claims/descriptions of two different family members.

Other Results Lists on

Besides the results list displayed from the Xpert module for patents, other results list are also displayed under additional modules on the platform:

  • Xpress Module - The options for the hit lists under the Xpress portal has a very similar layout to the Xpert hit list, but has more limited options (such as no analysis or highlighting options). See the Quick Search section of this report for more information.

Hit list under the Xpress portal.

  • Designs Module (separate subscription) - The hit list under the Designs module also includes a similar layout to the Xpert patent hitlist (such as the option for a preview pane), but the display, save, and analysis options are much more limited. See the Designs section of this report for more information.

The hit list for the Designs module (screenshot from Industrial Design user guide).[8]

  • IP Litigation Module (separate subscription) - The hit list for the IP Litigation Module most likely includes court case details and therefore will have a very different display than the patent or design search results. See the Legal Status Information section for a brief description of this module.


  1. 1.0 1.1 "User Settings - Display - Results." Questel website, Accessed October 22, 2012.
  2. 2.0 2.1 2.2 2.3 2.4 2.5 2.6 "Search Module - Hit List." Questel website, Accessed October 23, 2012.
  3. "Search Module - Result List or Hitlist and My Lists." Questel website, Accessed October 23, 2012.
  4. 4.0 4.1 "Search Module - Hit list: Top." Questel website, Accessed October 23, 2012.
  5. "Search Module - Hit list: Citations (FamPat and Pluspat)." Questel website, Accessed October 23, 2012.
  6. 6.0 6.1 Search Module - Hit list: Highlighting." Questel website, Accessed October 23, 2012.
  7. 7.0 7.1 Questel. "User Guide: Orbit, the Questel IP Portal." October 2011. Questel website, Accessed October 5, 2012.
  8. Questel. "INDUSTRIAL DESIGNS." May 2010. Questel website, Accessed October 11, 2012.
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