If you’re a business then you’d want to make sure that you can freely develop/sell your products in the market. You need to understand how a patent search affects your business before thinking of getting any form of protection. You wouldn’t want to infringe on another entity’s intellectual property while creating a product. Hence, you must look for any prior art that can be potentially dangerous for you. Before patenting something, you want to make sure that your invention is novel by doing a patent search.
But, you need to be aware of the types of patent searches that exist. Consequently, each particular patent search affects your business in a different manner. This article will help you gain insight into the different types of patent searches and how they affect your business.
Related Article: Why is Patent Search important for Scientists and Inventors?
What is a Patent Search?
A patent search, also known as a Novelty search, is done prior to the filing of a patent application. This is done to find out if the invention in fact, new and original. Hence, the invention shouldn’t have significant similarities to the prior art. The patentability criterion for an invention to get a patent is that it should be new, useful and non-obvious.
The patent examiner will conduct the search during the examination to determine the novelty of the patent. The search will also check whether the invention complies with the inventive-steps and other requirements of the patent law.
When you file a patent application, you need to file an Information Disclosure Statement (IDS) as well. Basically, the applicant needs to disclose the relevant information found about the invention. Hence, you need to disclose all the information about any prior art that you find.
The examiner might miss some information while carrying out the search. The inventors are more aware of the relevant field of technology. Hence, the patent law puts the onus on the applicant to reveal everything they know about the invention. A patent search affects the amount of information you have that you would want to reveal.
Patent Search Affects your Business Plans?
During a patent search, documents from all previous patents and applications are taken into consideration. Along with this, the search also reviews research publications in journals, magazines, websites, brochures, books and research papers. Let’s have a look at the main focal points to understand how exactly a patent search affects your plans.
- Keywords: The search is generally focused on a list of keywords that closely matches the features of the invention. The keyword should belong to the same technological domain as that of the invention. An inventor is obviously the best person to know about his product or invention. Hence, he can also build a set of prospective keywords for the same.
- Early Detection: An unoriginal invention will be easily detected in this step and there won’t be any need of searching further. Any similarity, if found, might potentially require the inventor to modify the invention or drop the idea of filing.
- The Search execution: After finalization of the search strategy, you conduct the search on patent databases to obtain the results. Apart from patent databases; you should review research journals, any academic documents or trade collections. A searcher can broaden his search further by expanding his/her search to patent databases all over the world. This involves different regions and languages, which broaden the scope.
- The role of the Patent office: A patent office allocates a specific subject matter classification code to a patent application. The search strategy is constructed upon this classification. A classification searching is also a much-opted search method besides keyword search.
Related Article: Why Patent Information is so important?
In conclusion, a patent search affects your business as it uncovers any potential prior art. This can require you to modify your invention in order to draft a patent. In more extreme cases, you might have to drop the idea of a patent completely.
Learn Prior Art and Prior Art Searches in detail.
Freedom to Operate Search
This is also known as Clearance Search. You conduct the freedom to operate to determine whether the manufacturing/selling of a product infringes others’ intellectual property rights. Thus, the main motto of a clearance search is to establish that not infringe any other existing intellectual property rights.
How to overcome an adverse patent clearance search?
Sometimes exploiting a product can lead to infringing other’s existing intellectual property rights. However, it may be possible to negotiate a license or obtain an assignment of the patent. If a business doesn’t have a patent of their own, it’ll prove to be difficult to negotiate in situations of patent infringement. Hence the lack of a clearance patent search affects your position in patent infringement negotiations.
Patent Search and Freedom to Operate Search
A preliminary patentability search or an official patentability search does not include a Freedom to Operate or FTO search.
The term ‘Freedom to Operate’ essentially means the freedom of an entity while producing anything. The results tell you whether or not you can manufacture or sell a product in a particular country or jurisdiction. It also entails that you don’t infringe other intellectual property rights.
Differences between Patentability and Patent Clearance Search
Let us summarize the basic differences between a patentability search and a patent clearance search in the form of a chart below.
Every patent search affects your business. This will make it easier to decide which type of search you should go for.
|Points of Differences
|Patent Clearance Search
|What is the search done for?
|To find out the novelty, non-obviousness of an invention or product
|Whether a product can infringe any existing IP rights
|What kinds of documents are favorable?
|Documents available publicly-existing patent, patent applications, research paper, journals
|Only patents that are non-lapsed and patent applications
|Which countries are covered?
|Documents from any countries will be considered
|This is for those particular jurisdictions where the product will be commercially exploited
|What to do to overcome negative search results?
|Practically nothing can be done
|It may be possible to negotiate licenses to use patents located in the search
For any business planning to develop its own product must consider both the patentability search and patent clearance search in its first developmental stages. It’s wise to categorize the IP fundamentals in its initial stages rather than being forced to abandon a project in its terminal juncture.
Patent Invalidity Search
Sometimes, you might infringe on someone’s intellectual property. So, as a measure of self-defense, you can carry a patent invalidity search to declare the patent invalid.
In some instances, an examiner might miss out on some prior art. A patent invalidity search is a comprehensive prior art search which you carry out after the grant of a patent. This can prove to be paramount in a patent infringement suit.
This form of patent search affects any business with drastic repercussions. The result of the search can yield substantial evidence to invalidate a patent. Then, the patent holder’s time, money and efforts to acquire go in vain.
Need a professional for conducting searches? – The Patent Search Firm
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