Patent searching is complex and high skill oriented activity. An efficient patent search delivers accurate and productive patent data to the patent analyst which in turn derives intelligence solutions to enable,
- a researchers to easily understand the state-of-the-art technology and so minimize researching time;
- a product developers to be free from anticipated infringement suits;
- an inventor to modify his ideas to be suitable for the patentability criteria;
- a tentative applicant to determine whether to go with patent application or to save application fee;
- an examiner to determine patentability of applications; and
- a patentee to assess the strength of his patents.
State-of-the-art searches are especially useful for technology development or technology transfer purposes. This kind of searches are aimed to determine background information for R&D activities by offering overview of the current state-of-the-art for the solutions of a given technical problem in terms of existing patent publications for a given field of the technology or research. The search also provides vital information about the rigidness of a technology in terms of available alternative technologies and also to evaluate a specific technology offered for licensing or considered for acquisition.
Novelty, one of the basic requirement is established in the negative way, i.e. absence of the invention in the public domain. The objective of a “Novelty Search” is to determine the novelty or lack of novelty of the invention claimed in a patent application or a patent already granted, or of an invention for which no application has yet been filed. The aim of the search is to discover relevant prior art. Novelty searches offer decisive information about developing an invention or break it down. However, things become complex when an invention lies in a crowded technology field.
Patentability or Validity Searches
A “Patentability or Validity Search” is made to locate documents relevant to the determination not only of novelty but also of other criteria of patentability, for example, the presence or absence of an inventive step (i.e., the alleged invention is or is not obvious) or the achievement of useful results or technical progress. This type of search covers all the technical fields, which may contain material pertinent to the invention.
The objective of an “Infringement Search” is to locate patents and published patent applications, which might be infringed on by a given industrial activity. In this type of search the aim is to determine whether an existing patent gives exclusive rights covering that industrial activity or any part of it.
These are searches for locating information about published patent documents involving specific companies or individuals, as applicants, assignees, patentees or inventors.
Technological Activity Searches
These are searches for identifying companies and/or inventors active in a specific field of technology, for identifying countries in which a certain technology is being patented and give important information about technology and market trends.
Patent Family Searches
This kind of search is carried out to identify a member of a “patent family.” Patent family searches are basically used to derive commercial, technical as well as strategic potential associated with a given patent. it is also used to define the geographical coverage of a patented invention or even getting the patent in a desired language, if patent was filed in that country also.
Legal Status Searches
A search for this type of investigation is made to obtain information on the validity (status) of a patent or a published patent application, on a given date, under the applicable patent legislation in one or more countries. Such information can assist in making decisions on, for example, exporting, or in the negotiation of license agreements. It can also give guidance on the value attached to a particular patent by the patentee.