A search conducted on an inventive idea/disclosure/preliminary set of claims to figure out if there is a scope of getting the idea patented in the near future with in-depth knowledge of what already exists in the domain/market or field of the invention.
There are various conditions to be fulfilled for an invention to be patentable. Three main conditions are:
A patentability search is sometimes also known as a novelty search. However, there is a minute difference between patentability and novelty search. A Novelty search is generally a low-budget search conducted on a rough draft of the invention to figure out if there is/are any new/novel elements in the invention or if the invention is non-obvious or not.
This novelty search then further leads to a high budgeted patentability search for those inventions which has shown some hint of novelty. The patentability search is conducted based on an initial draft of claims or provisional application before filing the application for examination in the patent office. The output of the patentability search helps in drafting the final claims or scope of the application to be filed in a patent office before this undergoes an examination process.
This search also helps in setting claim boundaries or limitations that determine the scope of the claims of the invention. The search provides the applicant/inventor with the documents/patents, also known as prior arts, which would be cited for the application and act as background knowledge.
A patent, unlike a research paper, grants its owner exclusive rights so that others can be prevented from using the idea of an inventor. A party that wants to implement or use or take advantage of a patented invention must have a license or approval from the patent owner.
The patent owner profits from commercialization of patents when they themselves or other parties use, manufacture, sell or profit from a patented invention. The patent owners can further license their patents to other entities by granting or allowing rights over the patented invention in exchanges for royalties. Thus, patent prevents other parties/entities from exploiting the invention without patent owner’s grant.
In order to prevent others from using one’s invention, without their approval or knowledge, and having profited from that by selling, manufacturing, or commercialization, one must protect their invention by filing a patent for their invention. The Patent will offer you protection from intruders on your intellectual property and you will also be able to earn royalties from your patent.
Before proceeding ahead, we need to understand first about patent. What is a patent and what is it used for?
So, a patent is a part of someone’s intellectual property that gives its owner the right to abandon others from making, using, or selling an invention for a limited period in exchange for publishing an enabling disclosure of his or her innovation.
To get the rights of a patent, one needs to follow few steps as per the regional patent office. All the offices conduct a procedure to find out an invention’s value by evaluating its novelty, uniqueness, and its use for public good.
These steps can be summarized in a sentence “what is a patent search” or what are different types of patent search.
Patent search sometimes is also known as patentability search, broad landscape search or novelty search or prior art search is a search performed to identify citations that are of similar nature as that of one’s invention. Patent searches specifically related to patents that are searched on various databases such as Google Patents, Espacenet, Orbit Intelligence, Thomson Innovation, CNIPA, JPLATPAT, etc.
At TT Consultants, we can perform a patent search for you on any of the databases, paid and unpaid, and also on our in-house tool, Xlscout. The patent search can be of many types depending upon your needs and requirements.
If you want to know, whether your invention is new, unique, and can be patented or not, a patentability search or a novelty search is performed based on the disclosure or key points of your invention.
If you want to know, whether something already exists before you file the invention, a prior art search can be performed.
If you want to explore a certain area or field and wants to know what are the major technologies in the area, major player, trend, etc, a landscape search or a state-of-art search is performed.
A Patentability search helps you find out whether your patent has a scope of getting the grant. If not, one may design around their invention by getting the idea from the patent search.
Before one files their patent in a patent office, it is important to conduct an exhaustive search for prior art information. This step in the application process helps an individual to stop wasting time and money by applying for protection for something that has already been existing in one form or another.
Searching for patent information can often be complicated, time-consuming, and costly. For specific assistance or to seek advice, one may wish to contact an intellectual property (IP) professional or an organization like TT Consultants.
You may believe your innovation is unique, but you can’t be certain without conducting a patent search. If there is anything even substantially similar to your innovation, you may not be eligible for a patent.
The fundamental goal of a patentability search is to estimate the likelihood of an invention being granted a patent, especially when compared to global standards of innovation and non-obviousness.
Before you begin the process of filing a patent, you should get a patentability search done for your invention. Because inventions require a lot of time and money to develop, the creator should double-check that no one else has claimed the invention before filing their application for examination.
In a patentability search, “prior art” is reviewed for similar devices and processes that pre-date the invention to see whether it appears to be innovative and non-obvious.
All public disclosures before the filing date of a patent application are considered prior art, including US patents and patent applications, foreign patents and applications, web pages, ads, and any physically made goods or previously given services. Non-patent literature can also be searched.
Even if a patentability search does not reveal that the invention is unpatentable, it may provide useful information for writing a patent application. The search results will reveal prior art that is similar to the invention, allowing a patent.
Application to be written considering that prior art. If the previous art is close to the invention, the patent application can highlight parts that are patentable or unique, novel, and not obvious to a person skilled in the art, despite the prior art.
If a patentability search had not been performed, it is possible that too much time (and money) would be spent in the application detailing elements of the invention that are unlikely to be patentable, while not enough time would be spent discussing aspects that are more likely to be patentable
A patentability search will frequently turn up previous art that demonstrates that the invention under consideration for a patent application is not unique, or that it is simply a version of what others have done. In these circumstances, filing a patent application on that invention is pointless because it does not meet the conditions for patentability.
Patentability search costs around $2,000 and a patent application cost between $8,000 and $14,000, so finding out that an idea isn’t patentable can save a lot of money.
Overall, a patentability search is important for the following reasons:
Before introducing a new product to the market, one need to ask themselves:
Searching can help solving these queries, as well as to:
Each patent document includes a detailed description of an invention (with illustrations) and information about the inventor and applicant. More than forty million patent documents have been published worldwide.
A patentability search is a type of patent search that gives you an important glimpse into whether an individual invention will qualify for a patent or not. The search allows you to compare your invention with already existing literature known as prior arts.
The patentability search is the most common of all the various types of patent searches. It is most of the time known as a novelty search or a prior art search.
Its aim is to make sure that your invention has not already been used, created, published, or disclose anywhere by anyone else in any form. The search helps you to compare your invention with the already existing prior arts. This includes both pre-existing patent literature and non-patent literature.
Further, the Novelty search and another search named the state-of-the-art search are related. A state-of-the-art search provides an in-depth look at technology in a particular sector, one can conduct the state-of-the-art search and then can Mold their research and design team with new sort of ideas by analyzing the outcome from the state-of-the-art study.
Usually, such outcomes are known as the whitespace analysis. One can take ideas from the white space analysis to dig down into a specific field.
A patentability search is not the same thing as an invalidation search. Invalidation search helps to identify if a patent is invalid and that is so if it has already been disclosed by others in any form such as patents or non-patents, before the priority date of the subject patent (here a date restriction is used, however, a patentability search is free from date restriction). It is possible that a patented invention gets invalidated by other literature.
Below are listed some of the key benefits of such type of search:
Looking at prior art and previous exemplary patent applications and non-patent literature in the same field will help you draft your own application in the right way, without getting invalidated in the future.
When you compare your invention with prior arts, you can predict some of the objections that a regional patent office may arise against your patent application. You can prepare responses usually called as office action responses to these objections.
The information collected during the search process will be helpful to answer the question that why your patent is valid or stand a chance to overcome any rejection put by the patent office while examining your patent application.
The search will help to provide you the limelight towards the novel or non-obvious or obvious aspects of your invention. This will help you to engage more in depth with your technology because of similar arts that are already existing then wasting time and money over an application that will be of no use.
A patent search in the right direction will enhance the chances of getting closer to the aim of getting a patent granted.
The search results will add value to your current invention and will also smoothen the examination process. One can get a better idea and can build their idea in a better way and after the grant of the patent one can monetize the same in the market and can get an effective value in terms of monetary benefits.
The prior art search can be conducted in two ways, like searching for patent-related arts only or second one is searching for any written form material or print form material before the required time and such arts are known as non-patent arts.
You must go for a patentability search even if you think nothing like your invention exists. There may still be prior art that might be close enough to your invention to prevent you from getting a patent.
Prevention is always better than cure so one should always try to conduct a patentability/novelty search either by themselves or by seeking help from any online patentability services as one can order an online patentability search from the TTC platform.
During the search, any document which is in the public domain, be it a granted patent, a patent application or a non-patent reference existing on or before the present day when the search is conducted that covers the major aspects of the invention according to the client/applicant/inventor requirements is considered as a prior art, also known as background art. The non-patent references include research papers, thesis, standards, white papers, e-mails, conversations, newsletters, products, articles, videos, blogposts, any internet publications, etc.
To identify these patent/non-patent citations, various paid and/or unpaid databases can be used. The databases include Orbit, Derwent, Xlscout, Patsnap, Lens.org, Google patents, Google, IEEE, Google scholar, IETF standards, 3GPP standards, ETSI, Espacenet, J-platpat, KIPRIS, CNIPA, etc.
Depending on the databases, there are numerous methods to search for prior arts. One method would include an automated search (for example in Xlscout – AI-based module) where either the inventive paragraph or the drafted claim elements/features are entered, and an artificial intelligence module takes over from there to identify all the related/relevant/closest possible prior arts.
Next, we can perform manual searches by making search strings/queries/strategies using all the important/related keywords/phrases of the invention. These can further help us in identifying major assignees/inventors and/or important patent classifications related to the invention which can be used in forming further search strategies.
We can also look for more related prior art presented/cited on an identified relevant prior art. Further, all these databases mostly have their own syntax/methods for making search strategies.
Moreover, if the client already has some patents/products/papers published on the same technology, then those references/citations can be identified and can help in steering the search accordingly, to find the closest possible prior art.
We are aware that inventions are a solution to an existing problem and a single problem can have more than one possible solution. These documents containing the solution to your invention act as competing prior arts and these can be a major influence in amending your own invention for it to be novel/new.
After the first phase of the search is complete i.e., extracting the closest possible references from all the possible search strategies, the next major task is to analyze these references. The best possible reference from the above would be a single reference disclosing all the key elements and novelty of the invention.
Further, providing relevant text in front of every key element of the invention provides a better understanding and analysis. The next possibility is to find a combination of a plurality of references that together can cover all the key elements and novelty.
If we are not able to find any reference disclosing the novel features of the invention, then the closest possible citations are useful in drafting the patent application and amending the claims accordingly to include a novel feature.
During the search, if you encounter granted patents/patent applications which are disclosing the novel feature/features of your invention, it implies that the invention is already patented, and your invention is not patentable. Similarly, there are many such inventions/ideas/documents which are never patented but are present in the public domain. These documents act as prior arts, and the current invention will not be patentable.
Further, to identify if a product has a patent, one needs to identify the assignee of the product. Next, go to a database or Google Patents and search for the portfolio of the assignee. If the number of patents in a company portfolio is less, they can be each analyzed to identify the patent for the product.
However, if the company portfolio is quite large, search key strings using keywords or elements for the product features have to be searched to output and analyze a doable number of hits. One can also go through tile, abstract or claims of the patents to analyze the citation in less time, since the novelty of an invention is claimed, and one can identify a relevant patent after analyzing the claims.
In addition, there are various laws that are taken into consideration while performing patent search. These laws are subject to jurisdictions. These laws are based on novelty, obviousness and usefulness of an invention.
There are millions of patents in existence. For your patentability search to reveal all the information, you need to dig deep for details. To uncover the most relevant data, you should:
Take advantage of multiple search tools:
Each one of these has its own advantages. Free Patents Online offers PDF documents with convenient hyperlinks. Google is fast and has information that stretches back many years. The USPTO database is an official government source.
Use the tutorials, help sections, and advanced search features of each patent search engine. You’ll learn techniques that will make your search more effective.
One should try to cover a variety of keywords during their search. Many patents use unobvious language, so try to search by using as many keywords as possible that relate to your invention. Use all of them during your search and sometimes inventors do make use of some wrong spellings as well so using few wrong keywords during your search is of no harm for example one can use “receive” and “recieve” both.
Knowing the right patent classification system is also important. Like there are various categories of classification as per different regions for examples Europe (CPC, IPC, ECLA) and the U.S. (US classes or USPC Classes) share a system, while other countries have a different method for organizing patents. When you know what classes and subclasses your invention falls into, your search is effective. Professional patent examiners sometimes create their own categories within subclasses to organize the information they find.
Japanese has their own classification system known as the F or FI terms. The pool of classes is available all you need to do is to find out the perfect category related to your field of invention.
‘Prior art search’ is information on inventions that have already been disclosed in the public domain. A prior art search will help give you an idea of what technology exists. This will allow you to make an informed decision on whether your invention is unique and able to gain patent protection.
If a product like your invention has been patented or described in a printed publication anywhere in the world, it may affect the possibility of you gaining patent protection.
Some places to perform prior art searches may include:
Just because a patent has been issued does not mean it is valid. Relevant prior art may not have been unturned when the examiner conducted search of the patent application and if the prior art later comes to light, the patent can be invalidated.
You may be concerned about infringing another party’s patent. However, a prior art search may find that the patent can be invalidated.
It totally depends upon the platform you are using. If you are using AI-based tools (like TTC AI-based novelty checker) then you can get the results very fast, and you can compare the data of your invention with the data that comes out from the AI-driven tools.
Patentability Search Report, also known as a state-of-art search report or broad landscape search report comprises an analysis of various citations such as patents and non-patents identified while performing a search. The patentability is sometimes also referred to as prior art search or state-of-art search or broad landscape search, depending upon client requirements and expectations.
A patentability search discovers references of similar context to the invention which has to be patented. The identified references may cover one or more key elements of the invention to be patented or the invention which is being searched.
An invention qualifies to be patentable if it is novel and non-obvious. Patentability search helps an inventor to judge his invention, if his invention is new and novel or if his invention is already known or published in the art before the date of the invention. The search also helps the inventor to identify if his invention is obvious to a person skilled in the art. This may be employed by using one citation or a combination of citations. The patentability search is also known as a novelty search or prior art search.
Any information that is disclosed prior to the date of the invention and is known to the public, would be considered as prior art.
The prior art can be in any form such as patent publications and applications, non-patent such as research papers, white papers, journals, products, product manuals, periodicals, books, PDFs, user guides, etc. Even a public speech or news can be considered as prior art.
There is no cut-off date for prior art in the patentability search. It can be ages old, or it can be the latest even.
Also, the prior art could have been published or disclosed anywhere anytime in the world. There is no geographical restriction or time restriction in the patentability search.
Further, if the inventor discloses any information related to his invention in any form, one year before filing the patent, the information is considered as prior art.
The patentability search is performed to decide whether an invention is patentable or not. An invention is unpatentable if it is not novel, obvious to a person skilled in the art, illegitimate, and if it is not useful to the world. For an invention to be patentable, it must be statutory, novel, useful, and non-obvious to the person skilled in the art.
Also, the patentability search helps an inventor to decide whether he should go forward to draft a patent in order to have legal rights over the invention if it is novel, or the inventor should drop the idea of protecting his invention if it is already known in the art or is obvious to a person skilled in the art.
This is important because filing a patent, owning a patent, and maintaining a patent is an expensive process. So, the inventor must go forward with the next steps if and only if he is sure that his invention is novel and will be useful to the world.
Moreover, a patentability search may also reveal that some aspects of the invention are known in the art, while some other aspects of the invention are novel and not known in the prior art. Thus, the inventor may amend his objective or invention by focusing on the novel part.
The patentability search, if performed on a broader perspective such as state of art may further give the inventor an idea of various technologies or inventions in the similar domain as of his invention. This would give the inventor a clear idea of what kind of work is being done presently and what can he do differently.
Further, the patentability search, if performed on even large perspective such as landscape search can give the inventor an idea of work done in the interested area or technology.
It also demonstrated major players active in the domain, their filing trends, major countries where the citations are filed with respect to that technology, key areas that are least explored, etc.
Thus, it can be said that if an inventor/assignee wants to determine whether their invention is worthy of a patent or not, a patentability search including patents and non-patents is performed. In another scenario, if the assignee/inventor wants to determine various technologies, players, patent trends, etc. in a particular technology, a technology landscape search may be performed.
Also, filing date of a patent is very important in deciding future of a patent, because the USPTO follows a first to file rule. That means, priority is given to the inventor who files their patent first. Thus, time is of very important essence here.
In order to conduct a patentability search, an invention disclosure is obtained. Based on the invention disclosure, a set of key features or key elements may be extracted, on the grounds of which, a patent and non-patent search is performed. Thus, a searcher thoroughly understands the invention and extracts various important elements known as key features/elements that represent the invention.
The patentability search may further be performed on various paid and unpaid databases such as Thomson Innovation, USPTO, Xlscout, Orbit, Espacenet, Google, ScienceDirect, IEEE explore, CNIPA, KIPO, JPLATPAT, etc.
The search is performed by extracting a set of keywords from disclosure provided by client, forming search strings based on the keywords by using one or more combinations of keywords. The data set obtained after running the search string is analyzed thoroughly by a searcher.
Also, the searcher can determine various IPC/USPC classifications relevant in the filed of the invention. The descriptive definitions of these classification can be determined from USPTO or Espacenet.
The search strings may be formed based on keywords, classifications, inventors and assignees active in the domain. Further, citations (backward and forward) of relevant citations can also be looked into.
Based on the analysis, a patentability search report, patent search report, patent landscape search report, prior-art search report, etc is prepared. The terminology depends upon the scope of analysis.
The search report helps an inventor to decide where they stand in the technology. The inventor may proceed with drafting a patent if the search analysis shows that the invention is not obvious or known in the prior art. However, if the search analysis leads to prior arts or citations similar to the invention or leading to the obviousness of the invention or questioning the novelty of the invention; the inventor may have to change or amend his invention.
The patentability search report must help the inventor to be able to decide where they stand in the technology, whether their ideas are non-obvious, novel and patentable or whether their ideas are obvious, known in the prior art and unpatentable.
After performing the search, the identified citations are shortlisted on the basis of key features. The closest possible citations are analyzed in detail. The analysis of the citations provides a clear understanding of the novelty of the invention. It illustrates which key features are disclosed in the prior art and which key features are novel and not common or which key features are not disclosed at all in the prior art.
This helps the inventor to amend his invention accordingly and further draft the invention and its claims as per the search analysis.
The searchers can also summarize each citation provided in the search report and prepare a comment based on what/what not disclosed in the invention with respect to the invention. The searchers must have a sharp understanding of the domain and their comments can help the inventor to easily overview the provided citations.
In addition, the searcher/analyst can also form a patentability opinion that clearly describes which aspects of the invention are not obvious and are novel and thus may be focused upon to develop the patent and claim limitations.
The search report comprises all forms of prior arts relevant to the invention such as non-patents, pending applications, granted, alive, dead, expired or abandoned patents, etc.
The actual cost of a patentability search will vary depending on various aspects. These aspects may be technology advancements used in the invention to be patented, how thoroughly the search has to be performed that further depends upon client requirements, time, and budget.
In broad terms, the price you pay for getting your patent often depends on how complex your invention is, and the number of claims you are seeking. An elaborate invention with many potential claim elements in a highly esoteric area would cost more than the research on a relatively straightforward invention.
There is no single answer to how much a patent search service costs. It could cost anything from $200 to $5000, depending on the approach you pick. The wide range of possible fees is mostly determined by the approach and depth of the search you desire. Many services exist that do preliminary searches of issued patents in the United States. They’ll look through a small number of databases for a small number of keywords.
Hiring a patent search professional to do a complete search of patent applications in several nations, on the other hand, could be costly but effective. It depends on the intricacy of the patent and the requirement to seek for conflicting patents in diverse domains of art. Another alternative for seeking patents is to employ a high-volume patent search business. These companies offer low-cost patent services.
Some professionals charge a set fee, while others bill by the hour. In the United States, the hourly fee might reach $100. When doing an in-depth analysis and offering an opinion on the patentability of an invention, professionals choose an hourly rate. The invention’s complexity is a crucial factor. A basic innovation could cost as little as $100, but a complex one with a full report could cost as much as $2,000. Based on the complexity of the innovations, here are average cost estimates for professional patent searches-
A patent search fee is also charged by the government. The search fees for a university or a small business are roughly $300. A large corporation will pay roughly $600 in fees. More information about government fees can be found on the USPTO website.
Factors that come into play when estimating the price of the patent search:
When considering how much to spend on a patent search, keep in mind the possibility of missing important information. Keep in mind that the goal of a patent search is to determine whether filing a patent application is worthwhile. What if you take the easy approach and don’t find any relevant prior art, only to have your patent overturned years later because a more thorough search revealed that your innovation wasn’t patentable?
The more comprehensive the patent search, the better protected you will be.
Natural language queries of relevant databases are used in every patent search. Essentially, Google searches. Advanced searches, on the other hand, will use proximity searches and Boolean operators and connectors to find documents that don’t have a precise match for the query phrases but still contain useful information.
Classifications (using how the USPTO classifies patents and applications to find probable matches rather than focusing solely on keywords) and common assignees will be included in the most advanced, precise searches (applications and patents involving one or more inventors conducting the search). The more thorough the method, the more likely it is to uncover relevant prior art.
Unfortunately, most patent searches are outsourced to foreign companies in India and other countries. This can certainly have an impact on the quality of the search, as English proficiency, and vocabulary range greatly between contractors. It is more expensive to do a patent search in the United States. The lower the cost of a patent search, the more likely the work will be outsourced.
When I say, “search deliverable,” I’m referring to the final product that you will obtain from the individual or firm doing the patent search. If you select the low-cost approach, you’ll get a stack of papers, including copies of applications, patents, schematics, and other things that the searcher thought was relevant. It will be up to you to make meaningful connections between the dots. That means, less you pay, more work you will end up doing on your own and vice-versa.
In the middle of the spectrum, you’ll probably get a feature matrix with a few references that indexes the detected material.
The most expensive searches include Art matrices, which indicate out where essential elements can be in patent drawings and other papers.
The patentability opinion is the final phase of the search deliverable. Most attorneys agree on a number of analytical hours in advance (typically at least one, but occasionally as many as 10), and then the attorney provides a patentability determination based on what was done during that time. A better search cuts down on analysis time significantly.
As a result, it is less expensive to pay for a better search deliverable that facilitates analysis rather than the additional attorney time required to evaluate a subpar search deliverable.
When it comes to performing invalidation search of any other IP search, a customer has various options. For example, one can get the search performed by an individual or an organization. Whereas an individual can only offer a limited expertise in a particular technology or IP field, an organization has various employees having abundant IP experience and diverse expertise in different technology domains.
Now when coming to organizations, again there are various choices available these days, and one should choose the best. TTC by all means is one of the best and renowned organizations in IP searching. And this did not happen overnight, TTC has an IP experience of almost two decades providing excellent and satisfying services to our consumers.
At TT Consultants, we apply intelligence to Intellectual Property (IP) globally. Our focus is to help clients solve their problems by providing useful strategies to them thus ensuring meticulous execution. We serve world’s largest companies, law firms, institutions, and several other IP fraternities. We help to monetize IP, defend IP litigation, lead innovation in industry and achieve most out of IP budgets.
We have various long-term clients who always choose TT as their go-to firm for diverse projects. We offer various services such as:
We also specialize in patent portfolios, patent rankings and technology landscapes. We further offer market research as well. We have specialized and expert teams for patent drafting, prosecution, office actions, etc.
TT Consultants is led by a highly experienced executive team committed to driving innovative solutions that deliver value to our clients. Our team comprises of 200+ experts in various technology areas such as electronics and communication, mechanical, pharma, biotech, life sciences, computer science, electrical and many more. Also, we have more than 25 PhDs with diverse expertise in various domains. We have 60+ experts having more than 10+ year of experience in IP.
In addition to that, we have IP experts related to us from US, UK, Taiwan, Japan and Canada having vast IP knowledge. Few of our team members have also served as USPTO patent examiners, thus we provide you with best of everything.
Also, we have our own in-house tools, XLPAT and XLSCOUT where the merging of human and machine learning gives best results. Humanizing intelligence from machine learning is primary foundation of analysis, insights, and informed decisions.
Proprietary algorithms, using Artificial Intelligence and Machine learning, led to evolution of a machine designed to mimic behaviour of an expert searcher. Various data sets include Patent data, Non-Patent Literature, Standard Essential Patents, Litigation data, Corporate data, Reassignment data, and Examination data.
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