5 Tips For Patent Literature Search


Before jumping to Patent Literature Search, let’s understand why it is needed. We all know that patenting an invention isn’t an easy task. You have to follow the USPTO guidelines when registering an invention in the United States. Moreover, you have to pay various fees like examination fee, maintenance fee, and so on. You clearly don’t want to go through all this for nothing. As a result, you must do Patent Literature Search before filing a patent application. In this article, we’re going to talk about Patent Literature Search and the five tips for conducting Patent Literature Search.

What is Patent Literature Search?

Sometimes, the most obscure details about complex technologies are often found only in patent literature. You may not find the details in other resources. Therefore, patent literature search is usually an integral part of any kind of prior-art search. It is a way of finding the process or technology already existing in public domain. Nowadays, Patent Literature Search has become a complex task due to the availability of large volume of patent literature. Moreover, with each passing day, the volume of patent literature keeps on increasing. However, it provides opportunities for finding relevant references that you may not come across otherwise.

Related Article: Patent Information: Details Leading to Huge Profits

Below are the Five Tips for Conducting Patent Literature Search

We already discussed that Patent Literature Search is a complex task. Therefore, we need proper guidelines or tools to do it effectively. We want to reduce the time taken by our search to look for an already disclosed process or technology. Here are the five tips for conducting literature search:

General Technology Study

A general technology study is important before you start developing search strategies and perform exhaustive search. This quick search helps you understand the technology that you are searching for. Moreover, it gives you an idea what could be labelled as a relevant reference. Further, it can help you create a list of more refined keywords and find potential resources. Industry specific jargon and active experts/companies that can later be used using Assignee/Inventor search are some examples.

Classification Search

Generally, you can search patent literature in two ways – keywords and classification. Keywords are the easier and more natural way to search, more so than the patent classification. Classification search is a very powerful tool when it comes to searching for patent literature. It is the right option if you are interested in finding all the patent publications in a particular technical area. Later, you may narrow it down using filters if desired. That is usually impossible to do so with keywords only approach.

Use Generic Keywords

Patent attorneys tend to use more general form of a term or phrase, especially in claims. However, this usually poses a challenge for the searcher. You need to be careful enough with including broader terms in your search strategies. If not done so, you might end up losing some relevant references in your search.

Let’s take an example. You are searching for disclosure related to, say, “iPhone case”. Think about including terms like “mobile”, “cell”, “cover”, etc. in your search strategy. This will result in higher chances of finding a relevant reference. If you had simply searched for “iPhone case”, you wouldn’t have found relevant references.

Explore Citations

Citations are a powerful way of finding patent documents. If you find a patent document which appears relevant, check its cited references. There might be older patents cited against it. Citing references are newer patents that cite it. There is always a chance that these cited or citing references will be of some relevancy. By examining the cited patents, you can discover relevant classifications related to the technology field of your search. Further, you can also use this section as a way to learn more about relevant technologies. As a result, you can create potential search strategies. Sometimes, this can also be used to validate if you are on the right track with your search strategies. If your references are on the list of a relevant patent document, you are on the right track. You can use that information to find even more relevant prior-art.

Inventor/Assignee Search

Before beginning an assignee search, research the company to identify name changes, ownership, and subsidiary/parent relationships.  Look at the company’s website, and check out its entry in Wikipedia or similar sites. Moreover, you may use specialized business database that contain company information. Be sure to search for all variant forms of the inventor’s name. The inventor name may be different from the assignee name. When you are looking for an assignee, consider all name variations. In case, you are looking for an organization as an assignee, you should consider name variations of its different subsidiaries. If the company has changed names, you should search under all names even beyond the date of the name change. Patents filed before the name change may issue afterwards and will probably contain the previous company name as the assignee.

Related Article: US Patent Search (Major Search Types)

Why Should You Hire The Patent Search Firm?

We can give you a multitude of reasons to hire us. Since the inception of The Patent Search Firm, we have given our services to various clients. Moreover, they seem to be satisfied with our work. Our team has professionals that have years of experience. Our list of Search services contain: Patentability, Patent Invalidity, FTO, Design Patent, Patent Assignee, Chemical Structure, and Biological Sequence. Besides Search services, we offer services: Patent Landscape Analysis and Patent Watch/Monitoring.

If you wish to use our services, please visit our service page – The Patent Search Firm.

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