We will discuss about patentability search basics and some other general queries regarding it in this article. No patent law requires you to conduct a patentability search or patent novelty search. But, however, you must not omit this important process.
Patentability Search Basics
A patentability search or patent novelty search is a search of the prior art (pre-existing inventions or products or knowledge) conducted before filing a patent application. The patent examiner at the Patent Office conducts a search to find out whether the invention or product qualifies for the grant or not. Also, this process take place after filing for a U.S. non-provisional patent application. You may be thinking, then why should I do a patentability search if the patent office will be doing itself? A patentability search before filing a patent application is necessary to find out the novelty of the invention. Otherwise,It is a waste of time and money for preparing, filing, and prosecuting a patent application on an invention which cannot win a patent. A patent search result enables a patent attorney or a patent professional to draft an efficacious patent application.
The motive behind the Search
The main aim is to find out whether an invention is completely new. The patent must not have any resemblance to previous inventions or products belonging from the same or different field. If a prior art or prior patent discloses your invention in every minute detail, then the invention is unlikely to secure a patent. Thus a prior-art search or a patentability search helps to determine the novelty of an invention or product.
A positive result for a patentability search allows the applicant to proceed for application preparation, filing, and prosecution. On the other hand, if the search result is a negative one. It is a waste of money and other resources.
State of the Art Search
State-of-the-art search is a complete search that provides a common idea of the prior art in a specific area of technology. While patentability searches, State of Art search includes searching for patents/applications that are already published. Also, it deals with the search for particular publications in the domain of the art. State of the art provides a detailed picture of the related technology field to decide the regulation of research.
Thus, it is necessary for the Research and Development initiatives. Moreover, It helps to gather critical information for making market strategies and proves beneficial to a company entering a new technology area.
Patent Clearance Search
A Patent Clearance Search or Freedom-To-Operate Search finds the potential patents that might cause hindrance for an invention or product before launching it in the market. This search ensures that new or planned products are safe to launch in the market without any fear of litigation from existing patent-holders. An Infringement search is conducted in the target country where you plan to market the product. Thus, making it more streamlined.
Patentability Search versus Patent Clearance Search
It is really important to understand Patentability Search basics to answer the aforementioned question. A patentability search finds out whether your invention or product is already present in the market or known to the public through previous prior-art searches. Patentability Search by no means targets to find out whether the commercialization of a product would infringe any existing patents. In this article, we are primarily focusing on Patentability Search.
Do I need to conduct a search even if my product is unavailable in the market?
The answer will always be yes. An unavailable product in the market does not guarantees grant of the patent. There are a countless number of patents and patent applications in the patent office. Thus, even if a product is not present in the market, it necessarily does not mean that the product or invention will be new. So before launching a product in the market or before applying for a patent application, a proper prior-art search is absolutely necessary.
A question like this may arise- if a product is not available in the market, why would there be a patent application for it? Due to several reasons, a patented product might be unavailable in the market. They are as follows:
- Insufficient funds leading to a stop in the development of the product.
- Inability to find the right path of trade
- A lack of consumer interest in the product leading to less or no publicity
Can I conduct a patent search on my own?
Definitely, you can conduct a patent search all by yourself. You can visit the website of the United States Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO) and follow the guidelines as stated. In this way, you will end up saving the cost of hiring a professional patent searcher. However, a professional patent searcher with his experience, access to search tools, and knowledge of searching techniques provides an authentic result in situations when it might be difficult or easy for an individual to establish the patentability of an invention.
Will I definitely get a patent after conducting a patent search?
The simple answer is no. A patent search confirms that an applicant can go ahead and proceed with the patent application. However, there can be the existence of several non-public prior-arts which will act as a roadblock to obtaining patents. U.S. patent applications are not publicly disclosed before 18 months from the date of filing of the application. Therefore, there might be instances where somebody with a similar invention has filed an application one month before your filing. In this scenario, the later application will act as a prior-art to your invention; it will not be disclosed before 18 months from its filing date. As a result, your invention will face hindrance and cannot be patented.
You may think then what is the point of doing a patent search? It is a reasonable step that ensures no prior-art exists that can be similar to your invention or product. It helps you confirm that publicly disclosed or undisclosed patents or patent applications will not act as a blockage to your patent application.
Value of a patent via patentability search basics
This is a bit difficult to analyse as the value depends on a number of analyses. The most important values can be summed up as the following:
- A patent stops competitors or other rival entities from copying your idea.
- The extent to which other companies are interested in paying for a manufacture license or use the patent technology
- The scope till which your patent impresses other customers, inventors, financial institutions
Patentability Search Basics – Conclusion
The patentability search helps to determine whether a product or invention can be patented or not. It also defines the scope of patent protection that an inventor or applicant will gain or achieve.
How to do patentability search?
Step 1 : Firstly, understand the aim of the search. It determines ability of a patent. Whether the application will result in a patent or not. It is also known as prior-art search.
Step 2: Give your patent attorney a complete idea about the patent. Also, complete means even the small details and all the aspects of specifications. Cover every detail for an efficient search.
Step 3: Go through every piece of literature for a broader search. Check for patents on “google patent search” and also go through non-patent literature like journal, research papers etc.
Step 4: Cover foreign countries . Apart from google patent search and USPTO search, also search on WIPO and other sources.
Cost of patent search?
Free tools are: USPTO, WIPO, GOOGLE PATENT SEARCH, science journals , research paper.
Moreover, you must hire an attorney for better results. It may cost you from $10 to $3000 depending on the complexity of patent and the range of search.
Can I make a product that already exists?
Yes, but for that one needs to negotiate with the inventor(cross-licensing or buy the patent). Also, one can do market research about the features of the product, collect customer feedback and come with similar product with some advancements. Not all products in market are patented.
Hire us to help you with Patentability Search
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