A different approach:

While searching for NPL documents date verification is always a problem.

When we were stuck in finding a highly relevant reference for a prior-art search where NPLs are more likely to be found than patents, we started exploring NPLs for any products backdating our invention. Searching on a back date in NPLs is always an issue as most of the links get updated after some time so you can never rely on them. One way to do that is keeping date restrictions from tools on google. However, it also redirects to the latest link. So, to verify dates in NPLs “Wayback Machine” is often used by searchers where you can upload any URL and it will give you the saved pages of that website (if any) from the past. You can scroll on a calendar and select which date you are looking for and then open a snapshot from the same date or nearby dates. When you do so page of that website from the same date will open where you can navigate through links.

We had used this to find a highly relevant reference in one of our projects where our searchers have found that few competitors were making that product before the priority of patent. They searched for those competitors one by one and looked for their products to find the exact match. As soon as they found a product of required specifications, they uploaded the website link on the Wayback Machine to check for pages saved before the priority date of the subject patent. While navigating through dates they found that the product was available on their website before the date by opening the product list of the company on the same page. After verifying the dates to be sure they started looking for patents and brochures for the product for technical disclosures. Disappointed as none of their patents were disclosing the same as given in products, they started looking for brochures and technical disclosures. Unfortunately, the Wayback Machine does not have any brochures, or either brochure is restricted to open only after authentication which means you can only download the latest version of brochures.

Enthusiastic and not giving up easily, our searchers started looking for brochures all over google for the same product with a date before the priority date of the patent in every possible way they can. When every mind felt exhausted after adequate efforts toward search one of our searchers came up with an idea completely out of the box. Searcher suggested searching for the copyright before the date followed by the company’s name (Example: “©2002 company name”). This idea worked and we found brochures and technical disclosures of products for the same company on google but still unable to find a brochure of the same product.
This is when another mind-boggling idea came up from one of our searchers who suggested to look for brochures in google image search where we searched for the same copyright of company but in images. To our surprise, we found images related to the product and after following the URL for those images we found what we were looking for. This was the technical disclosure (brochure) in form of a PDF for the same product with the release date before the priority date of our subject patent.

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