When a person invents something, he wants to make sure that the invention remains his own and for that, he has to patent it. But before that, the prior-art search is necessary for checking and keeping the novelty of the invention.
What is prior-art?
Prior-art is any product, method, service, procedure, etc., that already exists. It is something that is not new.
Also read: Prior-Art Search: A Complete Explanation
What is a prior-art search?
Prior art search refers to the search conducted before applying for a patent and it is conducted on various levels. Prior-art becomes the evidence as it evaluates that your invention isn’t new and such a product already exists.
When and Why is a Prior-art search done?
Before actually applying for a patent application to the PTO, an inventor should always do the prior-art search. As you know, patenting an invention is time and money-consuming, so doing your part at its best is the one way to give the invention full security of its patent. Getting a patent grant is a valuable and lengthy process, so it needs perfection at each step. Prior-art search gives the idea that the invention is non-obvious and new. It is a completely reliable step to ascertain the risk and minimize it before filing for a patent.
Different Prior-art searches
- Patentability Search is conducted to check that your invention is unique and is not obvious. It is done before filing your patent and after turning your idea into invention practicality. If this search is conducted beforehand, it will help to avoid rejection of application and also an infringement on later stages.
- When a patent is approved, it is not a good idea to completely rely on the patent examiner for patent validity. It is always good to avoid patent invalidity after approval of your application. And therefore, to avoid such a risk, the inventor should go for an invalidity search. It distinguishes invalid patents and non-patent documents. We do this when a competitor had tried to infringe on your invention. It generally helps to dissolve the patent infringement claim by doing prior-art searches for similar patents.
- After getting approval for your patent, the task for the inventor doesn’t complete. Ascertaining all the risks that may arise after the launch of your invention is important and therefore, we conduct Freedom-to-operate search. It analysis applications in transit or published patent applications. It helps to avoid infringement of patents while operating in the market domain.
Also read: Importance of Patent Invalidity Search
Prior-Art Search: Hiring a Professional or Not?
There is an option to conduct prior-art searches yourself. Although the search should be very precise and clear, choosing a professional or not is a choice. But, the thing is there shouldn’t be any mistake which can get you into future trouble just to waste all the efforts done for the search. While conducting prior-art yourself, there are various sources you can consider.
Sources to conduct the search yourself
There are various public sources such as granted patents, web pages, research papers, published applications, etc. The inventor can himself search through the databases and search engines. You should conduct a wide search and leave no loopholes so that the risk of rejection of the patent application or invalidation can be avoided.
It thus becomes very important to conduct prior-art searches because the validation of patents can be nullified later on and all the efforts and hence the time consumed for patenting the invention.
In a nutshell, the prior-art search is really important to complete the process of patenting. It helps the patent to fulfill its role and be alive.
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