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Towards Content-based Patent Image Retrieval: A Framework Perspective

In this article, we discuss the potential benefits, the requirements and the challenges involved in patent image retrieval and subsequently, we propose a framework that encompasses advanced image analysis and indexing techniques to address the need for content-based patent image search and retrieval. The proposed framework involves the application of document image pre-processing, image feature and textual metadata extraction in order to support effectively content-based image retrieval in the patent domain. To evaluate the capabilities of our proposal, we implemented a patent image search engine. Results based on a series of interaction modes, comparison with existing systems and a quantitative evaluation of our engine provide evidence that image processing and indexing technologies are currently sufficiently mature to be integrated in real-world patent retrieval applications.