2014 Archives

SMU signs agreement for patent search service

Based on model developed by SMU prof and student

November 13, 2014

DALLAS (SMU) – Patents Real Fast, a self-directed online patent search service, has agreed to provide its services free of charge for a year to SMU students, faculty and staff.  

The research behind the company’s web search process was directed by Margaret Dunham, Professor Emeritus of Computer Science in SMU’s Lyle School of Engineering, and delivered by SMU graduate student Badhrinath Sampathkumar.

“A great university knows that it is important to encourage commercial development of its research,” said James Quick, SMU associate vice president for research and dean of graduate studies.  “At the most basic level, a thorough patent search is key to knowing if a “discovery” is really new and if commercial development is warranted. The ability to rapidly perform a patent search early in their research planning will enable faculty and students to identify research directions with high potential impact.” 

SMU faculty, staff and students have secured 40 patents over the past 14 years for things ranging from new algorithms to additive manufacturing, and currently have 20 more pending.  “Clearly, the ability to do a quick, thorough patent search is of great value to SMU research.” Quick said.    

“We are excited to have an agreement with SMU to use the PRF patent search service,” said Pete Fenner, president of Patents Real Fast.  “We know they are a leader in research and innovation and hope that our service will deliver great benefits in their ongoing patent and prior art search efforts.”

Based on the research with SMU’s Dunham and Sampathkumar, Patents Real Fast has developed a sophisticated text parsing tool called “PRF Query” to identify patent keywords from a related text, such as an existing patent, draft description, claim or product brochure. PRF Query then automatically builds query scripts for the major patent search web sites. The process sidesteps what can otherwise be a very tedious and time-consuming search for key information in a large set of complex patent documents.


SMU is a nationally ranked private university in Dallas founded 100 years ago. Today, SMU enrolls approximately 11,000 students who benefit from the academic opportunities and international reach of seven degree-granting schools.


About Patents Real Fast

The mission of Patents Real Fast is to help an inventor or researcher control the time and money risks in the patent process. By combining the best keywords with a display of the most important sentences, PRF Query offers inventors and researchers an iterative process to help validate and refine their ideas and improve their written description for their formal disclosure documents. Patents Real Fast (LLC) was launched in the fall of 2011 after the PRF research team finished developing their unique keyword extraction technology.  The research effort was initiated by Pete Fenner, President of Lightbus Technologies and Fenner Investments Limited and was directed by Dr. Margaret Dunham, Professor Emeritus of Computer Science at Southern Methodist University (SMU).

Find information and an animated product demo about PRF Query at: http://www.patentsrealfast.com