Conducting a patent search early in the innovation cycle is essential for most inventors. Undertaking parts of the searching process yourself can be helpful. Combing through relevant prior art from competitors and other similar entities shapes your invention and streamlines research and development. However, for a thorough search that uncovers the most relevant literature and positively impacts every part of the innovation cycle, invest in a professional patent search.
Patent searching help, which should also include a search for relevant non-patent literature, benefits innovation teams in four ways.
1. Save Time
A thorough search takes time, especially when you’re not an experienced patent searcher. Professionals are familiar with the tools, techniques, and terminology required to find relevant prior art efficiently, without sacrificing efficacy. When you utilize a professional patent searcher early in the innovation cycle, your legal team will have more relevant information with which to craft your patent application later on. This not only saves time otherwise dedicated to research; it also better prepares your innovation for review by the USPTO. Fewer rejections from a patent examiner mean you can patent more quickly and bring your innovation to market faster.
2. Receive Thorough Results
R&D teams can benefit from spending time browsing patented technologies with the potential to inform their final design. This process, however, may not return all relevant literature that an organization should be aware of before investing in research and development or the patenting process.
A professional patent search, conducted by a reputable company or patent attorney, uncovers more thorough results. The patent searcher will be able to rely on past experience and legal knowledge to search a vast array of prior art, including foreign filings from global patent databases. 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.
With the results of a professional search in mind, an inventor can continue fine-tuning an idea with more confidence in its novelty. It is now less likely that a patent examiner will find prior art that completely disqualifies your invention from patent protection.
3. Analyze Results
A professional patent search may only return search results. However, it may be worth the investment to also procure an analysis of these results. A good understanding of your invention and the competitive landscape allows an IP searcher to analyze the vitality of your technology.
4. Defend Your Patent
The thorough results of a professional patent search inform your initial patent application. With a clear understanding of the technology landscape, your claim can navigate around existing patents. This upfront investment results in a stronger patent when your patent is granted.
Many IP searchers are patent attorneys, patent agents, or former patent examiners and have a deep understanding of innovation-specific 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). Hiring a professional ensures you’re in compliance too.
Later in the life of your patent, the research completed by a patent searcher can be used to defend your organization against an infringement claim. Your thorough search shows that you were diligent about patenting a novel technology.