Before embarking on any kind of patent search and deciding on whether to conduct a search on your own or to entrust the task to an attorney or a patent search firm, it is essential to be well versed with the different patent search databases – so you can weigh your options and in case of outsourcing also understand what database your patent search service provider would be using.
PATENT DATABASE IS YOUR MOST IMPORTANT PATENT SEARCH TOOL:
- It provides patent information on an easily searchable platform
- They are updated regularly, usually on weekly basis so they are the most up-to-date source of patent information
TYPES OF PATENT DATABASES
- Original or Public Patent Databases – Mostly Free
- For e.g. USPTO, EPO, WIPO, SIPO etc.
- These are maintained by national or regional patent offices, thus a governmental initiative
- Provide patent information for the particular country by which it is maintained, excepting EPO and WIPO
- Normal search feature is offered free of cost
- Private Patent Databases – Mostly Paid
- These collect information from the public patent databases and make them available for search on their interface
- The coverage in terms of Countries covered is much wider than public patent databases, since a number of public databases are covered
- They are usually paid databases, exceptions include Google Patents, FreePatentsOnline etc.
- g. of paid databases: Questel Orbit, Thomson Innovation, STN etc.
FEW CONSIDERATIONS WHILE CHOOSING THE RIGHT DATABASE:
- Would it meet your search goal – To identify the most relevant patent for your purpose from amongst the vast sea of patent literature
- How easy or difficult is it to formulate a search strategy
- How many different patent databases are covered – patent relevant to you could be found in any language and in any national database
- How it fits into your budget – paid databases are pricey offerings, though of course highly valuable and unparalleled by free databases as will be discussed in next article.
- If paid patent search databases are the right choice for you, you can rely on a patent search service provider to conduct a search for you.