Importance of Patent Search
It is a well regarded fact that a good idea does not necessarily mean it is patentable or a good invention. Many inventions meet death without seeing the light of commercial success, due to several reasons. On the other hand many patents get invalidated due to infringement upon other patents and for the most part, this can be attributable to inefficient patent search.
Without a diligent patent search, you will most likely end up “reinventing a wheel” again. The damage caused due to this is not limited to time, costs and efforts. Patent information search is crucial for inventors, R&D departments and for any business entity dealing with innovation and inventions. The case below is the best example as to why a patent search is very important.
Joff Wild illustrates the value of patent databases in the lesson learned by a British engineering company in the 1990’s. The company was engaged in the development of a new process to make products from metal wire. Several years were spent in R&D on this new process and it was eventually ready for launch. A patent search was done during the process of applying for a patent and from the search results it was clear that the idea underlying their new production process had been patented in the US in the 1970’s, although patent protection was not obtained in the UK. As a result, the company could not obtain any form of IP protection for the time and money spent on the R&D (amounting to £600,000).
How to get a patent search done?
A patent search is normally carried out in paid databases and also from free patent databases made available by Patent Offices such as USPTO, EPO, JPO, WIPO, etc. Beginners may even look at Google.com/patents; however, isolating the desired data from the searched data requires understanding of patent document structures.
Why you should hire a patent agent or attorney?
Sometimes finding a patent document equals searching for a needle in a haystack, and patience and perseverance combined with skills and knowledge will yield the desired results. Further a patent attorney may have carried out several searches in his career and it would easier for him to narrow down to a specific information, instead of landing upon false-positive findings. Although a patent search may seem very well like a plain Google search, it is complex in and of itself and is best done by a qualified and experience patent search, who is a patent agent or attorney.
A patent agent or attorney may have access to paid databases in addition to free databases which will make the search very efficient and accurate.
We can see more about types of patent searches and benefits and purpose of each search in the upcoming posts. Thank you for reading this.