With crazy timelines and floods of work, when it rains it pours. During these breakneck busy stretches, who has time to conduct an intellectual property (IP) search?
Professional patent searchers, that’s who.
It’s what they do. They’re at the ready to scour prior art databases and analyze your IP, so you can focus on monetizing it.
If you can’t afford to miss relevant prior art, you can afford to outsource your patent search. (The ROI pays for itself.)
No doubt you’ll want to max out your internal resources before spending money on external IP support. But you may not want to wait until your team is tapped out. Because there’s a strong case for hiring patent searchers as either short-term or long-term extensions of your team. Here are some benefits that will help you justify partnering with an IP search service:
- Cover your @#*%!
Searching for prior art is both an art and a science. Success (read: finding all the relevant art and not missing a critical reference) takes skill, experience, tools—and time. Lots of it. Unless you’re a professional patent searcher, you probably can’t dedicate your days to searching for prior art. But IP researchers do just that. They have the time, expertise and resources to conduct a thorough search—faster and more thoroughly than you. Exhaustively. So you don’t have to worry about missing a critical reference that could change the fate of your IP, and even your future.
- Save time, money and lost sleep
Sure, you can conduct your own intellectual property search. If you have the time. And are confident you won’t miss a critical reference. But the expense of dedicating your resources to the search and pulling them away from more profitable work might keep you up at night. And the risk of missing a relevant piece of prior art or a hard deadline might give you agita.
- Meet impossible deadlines
Professional patent researchers have access to the most comprehensive and current prior art databases available today, along with advanced intelligence to help them search those databases at record speeds. They’re also available to conduct your search now. Faster than you could do it even if you had the time. And they’re usually willing to customize their services to fit your budget and requirements. Some, like IP.com, offer an expedited process when you’re under the gun and the stakes are high.
- Comply with regulations
Many IP researchers have JDs and are patent attorneys, patent agents or former patent examiners and have deep understanding of today’s legal concerns. You can count on them to stay current and comply with important regulations, like International Traffic in Arms Regulations (ITAR) and Export Administration Regulations (EAR). So hiring a professional ensures you’re in compliance, too.
- Stay on top of industry trends and competitive activity
When you hire an IP search service, they’ll likely assign a dedicated team with subject-matter experts in your area of interest. A good patent search service will provide ongoing monitoring of relevant industries, technology, patents and competitors, and provide updates on the landscape and competition on a regular basis. IP.com’s professional search service provides quarterly reports that give its clients a sharp competitive advantage.
- Make you look good
If you’re tasked with presenting findings and making recommendations to your review committees and C-suite executives, collaborating with IP experts will give you confidence in your presentations. A good IP search service will keep you updated throughout the research process, so you can provide regular progress updates to decision-makers and leadership. And you’ll be armed with clear, decisive reports and supporting materials to help communicate and sell your strategy.
What specific jobs can IP services help you with?
Turn to an IP team when you need to clear product features, support prosecution, detect patent infringement, answer demand letters, monitor industries and competitors, and evaluate opportunities. Which, ultimately, allows you to defend, protect and commercialize your IP.
Which IP research, studies and analysis should you outsource to patent experts?
Whichever ones you want done right, fast. Including patentability, invalidity, landscape, freedom-to-operate and combination studies. This external, in-depth analysis will uncover your litigation risks and inform your monetization strategies.
What to look for when hiring an IP search provider
A quick Google search reveals plenty of so-called IP searchers. The best ones are the ones you can develop a collaborative working relationship with over time. So pay attention to the “soft” skills, like clear, timely communication, in addition to the “hard” ones, like access to proprietary software and IEEE content. While you might compromise on some things, here are offerings you should consider non-negotiable:
- Deep patent and subject matter experience and expertise
- Flexible pricing and customizable processes and scope
- Expedited “rush” services available
- Local, accessible, responsive researchers you’re comfortable collaborating and communicating with in an ongoing working relationship
- Clear, timely, direct communication, updates and interim progress reports—in person, by phone and electronically
- Access to the most advanced machine learning patent search software including full-text IEEE content
- Access to the most comprehensive, current multi-language prior art databases of patent and non-patent literature and a wide variety of technical disclosures with full authorship information, including IBM’s
- Comprehensive search strategy, including Boolean, classification, chemical structure and semantic search processes
- Support materials to facilitate meetings with your in-house invention review committees
- Long-term monitoring of your industry and competitors
- Compliance with International Traffic in Arms Regulations (ITAR) and Export Administration Regulations (EAR)