In today's fast-paced and competitive business environment, intellectual property (IP) has become an increasingly valuable asset for businesses of all sizes. Patents, trademarks, copyrights, and trade secrets are just a few examples of the different forms of IP that businesses can use to protect their innovations, brand identity, and creative works.
While obtaining IP protection is crucial for maintaining a competitive advantage, it's equally important to conduct a patentability search before filing a patent application. A patentability search can help businesses to avoid costly mistakes, minimize legal risks, and increase the chances of obtaining a valuable patent.
What is a Patentability Search?
A patentability search, also known as a novelty search or prior art search or pre-filing search, is a comprehensive search of existing patents, published patent applications, and other publicly available documents at the initial stages of intellectual property creation to determine if an invention is novel and non-obvious. The purpose of a patentability search is to identify any prior art that may impact the patentability of an invention. It enables you to take informed decisions about patent drafting & filing strategies and, in turn, reduce patent prosecution cost and time.
We perform patentability searches with an approach to comprehensively search every aspect of an invention to find out closest prior art and provide a well-informed patentability opinion.
Prior art is any information that has been made available to the public before the filing date of a patent application. This can include published patents and patent applications, academic papers, conference proceedings, technical journals, blogs, videos, and other public sources of information.
The results of a patentability search can help businesses to assess the likelihood of obtaining a patent for their invention. If the search identifies prior art that is similar to the invention, it may be more difficult to obtain a patent. On the other hand, if the search reveals no prior art that is similar, there may be a good chance of obtaining a patent.
Why is a Patentability Search Important?
Conducting a patentability search is important for several reasons:
Avoiding costly mistakes: Filing a patent application without conducting a patentability search can be a costly mistake. If the patent office rejects the application due to prior art, the business may need to start the process all over again, resulting in wasted time and resources.
Minimizing legal risks: Conducting a patentability search can help businesses to identify potential legal risks associated with their invention. If the search reveals that there is prior art that is similar to the invention, the business may need to modify their invention or consider a different approach.
Increasing the chances of obtaining a valuable patent: Conducting a patentability search can help businesses to identify opportunities to strengthen their patent application. For example, if the search identifies prior art that is similar to the invention, the business can use this information to modify their invention to make it more unique and non-obvious.
How to Conduct a Patentability Search?
Conducting a patentability search can be a complex and time-consuming process. It's important to have a clear understanding of the invention and its technical features before starting the search. Here are some steps to follow when conducting a patentability search:
Define the invention: Clearly define the invention and its technical features. This will help to identify relevant keywords and search terms.
Search patent databases: Search patent databases such as the United States Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO), the European Patent Office (EPO), and the World Intellectual Property Organization (WIPO), Google Patents, or commercial patent database (such as Patseer, Patbase, Orbit, etc.) for existing patents and patent applications that may be relevant to the invention.
Search non-patent literature: Search non-patent literature such as academic papers, conference proceedings, technical journals, and other publicly available sources of information.
Analyze the results: Analyze the results of the search to determine if there is prior art that is similar to the invention. If there is prior art that is similar, analyze the differences between the prior art and the invention to determine if the invention is novel and non-obvious.
Conducting a patentability search is a critical step in protecting your intellectual property. By identifying prior art and refining your invention, you can increase your chances of obtaining a patent and reduce the risk of a patent dispute. Whether you conduct the search on your own or with the help of a professional, a patentability search is an investment in the future of your invention and your business.