Sibelle Andrade, an intellectual property analyst from Brazil, won $500 in the recent Jetpack contest. In the wake of her victory we interviewed her about her background and experience at Patexia. Her interview is below.
James: What is your profession?
Sibelle: I’m a chemical engineer and I work as an intellectual property analyst. I’ve worked for companies in different fields, but the main activities have focused on intellectual property and innovation. During my graduate studies, I worked in companies which acted in the areas of alternatives for electric energy generation, cement, and innovation management consulting. In my last year of studies and the following four years I worked in the innovation and intellectual property department of one of the research and development centers of the second largest mining company in the world: Vale S.A. After that, I started working for the Brazilian Government at EMBRAPA (Brazilian Agricultural Research Corporation), which is a company of one of the Ministries of the Brazilian Federal Government (Ministry of Agriculture, Livestock and Supply) as an Intellectual Property Analyst.
What is your educational background?
Sibelle: I have a Bachelors of Science Degree in Chemical Engineering from the Federal University of Minas Gerais (UFMG – Universidade Federal de Minas Gerais), which I finished in 2007. According to the QS Ranking (2012), UFMG is placed 13th among the best universities of Latin America and is the 4th best university in Brazil.
I have a Masters of Science Degree in Intellectual Property and Innovation from the Brazilian Patent Office (INPI – Instituto Nacional da Propriedade Industrial), awarded in 2010.
I also have taken several short courses about different areas of intellectual property including: patent searches, Sui generis protection in Brazil, trademark protection, patent drafting, innovation management, and so forth.
Which study did you win?
Sibelle: The Jetpack Contest.
What part of your expertise was most relevant to the contest you won?
Sibelle: Practice I have accumulated in searching for patent documents. It is hard work to select the main documents relating to the technology in question. Sometimes many documents related can be found, but identifying the right ones to challenge an existing patent requires deep analysis. I have many things to learn but I believe that the more I practice finding the best document, the more I can develop this skill...and this is certainly the most relevant skill for participating in any of Patexia’s Contests.
What do you like best about being a community member?
Sibelle: Patexia is an innovative concept. It is an emerging service opportunity for companies who want to solve intellectual property problems and also for intellectual property professionals who want to gain more experience as well as some money in return for their expertise.
For these reasons, I like the opportunity to discover and participate in the Contests. I also like the opportunity to be part of a global community dedicated to the intellectual property subject. It is a chance to be in touch with multidisciplinary discussions and professionals around the world.
Being a community member gives me the opportunity to put in practice – outside of the work environment – my knowledge of prior art searches. The Patexia’s Contests are challenging and drive me to achieve the best result. Writing patents is an art and I believe that challenging patents is an even more interesting art.
How do you choose which studies to participate in?
Sibelle: I first choose the ones that relate to my educational background. However, I also take into account contests which have inventions that I find interesting and contests where I feel I can learn the new, related concepts and perform a patent search; even if it is not directly related to my background or education.
Which tools do you use to conduct your research?
Sibelle: I use the free tools available on the internet, in particular: Espacenet from the EPO, the USPTO database, and PatentScope from WIPO. I usually consult other search pages from different patent offices, including the Brazilian Patent Office.
In which languages do you conduct your research?
Sibelle: I research in Portuguese and in English.
Do you have access to any special databases that were helpful in your search?
Describe your experience of answering the contest.
Sibelle: I’ve worked daily with prior art searches during the last six years in different technology areas (mining beneficiation, mineral processing, fertilizers, biotechnologies, agribusiness technologies, among others). During my day-to-day activities some months ago, I discovered Patexia while looking for intellectual property information on LinkedIn.
The Jetpack Contest was my first contest at Patexia. I decided to participate because I really enjoy prior art searches and also enjoy learning about new technologies. When I saw the video of the Jetpack Contest I wanted to know more about the technology. I decided to participate to connect my curiosity with the opportunity of winning the contest not just because of the money, but also because of the possible recognition it could give me.
First of all, I took a look at the document which describes the technology in question. After that, I analyzed the international patent classification – CIP - and constructed a search strategy using some keywords and/or the main international classification I had chosen. Then I analyzed the results trying the select the most related ones. After studying the patent document I spent about five hours, split among three days during my free time at night, conducting the search. Over two more nights of reading, I selected the relevant documents and submitted them to Patexia.
It was an interesting experience because I learned about a new technology which I had never heard about before. For this contest I believe that the provided information was perfect. For others I would suggest that you open a way to receive questions about the technology when necessary, for example, offering specialist consulting (maybe via chat) to improve the understanding of the technology and area for those who are supposed to look for information. I believe that this could improve the quality of the results, depending on the purpose of the work (if, for instance, deeper analysis is required).
The question-and-answer response format of the Contest was helpful for me; it organizes the process of answering. Participating in other contests will give me more experience to suggest changes. It seems to be a little repetitive, but since it was my first complete contest, it helped in directing my answers and perspective on each document. I found the current process of submitting to Patexia very simple.
What are you going to do with your prize money?
Sibelle: I’m going to save the money for the future.
What are your plans for future contests?
Sibelle: I plan to follow the contests page in order to find more to participate in. I also plan to dedicate more from my free time to this task.
What’s the best piece of advice you could give to other community members?
Sibelle: If they want to be successful in participating in the Contests I advise them to read a lot about the technology before they start searching. Additionally, the continuously practicing patent searches will improve the quality of their future work. So my main advice is to put their research skills into practice and maintain their curiosity about new technologies. Further, even if they are not familiar with a specific contest subject they should not be afraid of trying.
What was the most challenging part of the research?
Sibelle: Fully understanding the aim of the search in order to construct the search and delimiting the specific topic to research. Once this is clear and you have a good understanding of the state of the art (by reading articles and other related patent documents, for instance) it is easier to create a search strategy. After that, reading and selecting the more important documents.
What did you learn during your research for this contest?
Sibelle: I found it really challenging and interesting to practice my skills on prior art search skills on different technologies that I’m not involved in my day-to-day work.
It was an interesting experience because I learned about a new technology that I have never heard about before, so, it was also an opportunity to explore a different technology area. This also taught me that intellectual property expertise is the main skill of a professional in this area.
I was glad to hear that Sibelle had such a nice experience and found the contests fun, challenging, and engaging. We’re looking forward to her future contributions at Patexia. I hope you find her tips and story useful in conducting your own studies.