5 Mistakes a Patent Researcher Should Avoid

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Patent research is a tough business. It not only requires high technical and engineering expertise but also creativity and perseverance while executing a patent search. Each prior art search literally requires screening through thousands of relevant documents  to locate a relevant prior art, all of which would look similar to a normal eye .

In my experience, as a patent analyst, I would like to share 5 mistakes which a researcher should be aware of:

1. Deducing “What to find” (Misinterpretation of Subject Matter/Novelty) : The linguistics of a patent or a technical disclosure are very important and misunderstanding or misinterpreting a single grammatical or technical word can lead many researchers astray. A single small misinterpretation could mean the researcher shooting the wrong bird and eventually never being able to find a relevant result which could have been easily located with correct understanding.

Also, the skill to identify the novelty of the invention from a heavy book like disclosure is a very critical step to begin with and utmost importance should be given to this initial understanding on exactly “what to find”?

For example : A claim element states that “an elastic sealing means located proximate to the first entry port and movable with the channel”

Here, we can interpret three important features for the sealing means:

  • Material : Elastic
  • Position: Proximate to the entry port and
  • Functional Aspect: Movable within channel

However the goal is to identify the novelty feature of the invention; is it the material, position, or the functional aspect of the sealing means?

A thorough reading of the disclosure can address the answer to this question.

2. Not Checking Videos/Blogs/E-commerce websites (Under-rating Non-patent literature) : Non-patent literature search can reveal a highly relevant document in almost 50% of the search cases. Specifically, in the fields of medical, electronics, chemical there is an enormous availability of white paper data/videos/teardown disclosures that NPL can be as much a source of relevant art as a patent data.

However, the NPL data being unstructured presents a more challenging and arduous situation for a researcher to locate a result and hence, this area is usually ignored by them. Most of the time technical blogs, videos, product disclosures have been a source of patent novelty destroying art.


Chetan Sharma

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