A Great Article on a Great Invention, But Did You Miss It?

October 13, 2010

Last week the New York Times featured an article about one of the greatest inventions in modern travel history: the wheeled suitcase, or “rolling luggage.” The article documents the story behind the creation of and subsequent history to this astounding American invention, patented at US Patent No. 3,653,474.

The article also represents an important tip in patent and legal research: the value of news sources. Often the Reference Attorneys are asked to retrieve “everything” involving a particular case or other legal document. And while KeyCite Citing References retrieves most resources on Westlaw—including cases, administrative materials, litigation documents, and secondary sources—it currently does not retrieve news articles. Thus, if you only KeyCite a case or patent you may be missing a helpful article on your topic. This is particularly apropos in patent research, since patents are so easy to search for: just search for the patent number in the same sentence as the word “patent.”

For example, let’s take a look at the citing references for the wheeled suitcase patent: US PAT 3653474. According to KeyCite there are 19 documents currently on Westlaw that cite to this document (mostly other patents that cite to the patent as a reference). Our New York Times article is nowhere to be found!

If, however, we do a search in the ALLNEWS database for 3653474 /s patent we can see that there are two news articles that also cite to this patent, including our helpful one from the New York Times.

Remember, if you ever need more information on a particular case or patent and don’t see many resources listed in citing references, try running a search in ALLNEWS as well. You may end up finding something helpful.