20 January 2021

Types of Patent Search and Why It Is Critically Important

By nature, humans are born to strive for progress and the discovery of new things. From this perspective, the last centuries can be described as a period of rapid development in all fields of human activity. The industrial revolution showed that life can be significantly improved through innovation, and society willingly began to apply various inventions. At the present stage of development, we can make a bold statement that mankind has realized the expediency of using intellectual property objects. International corporations and developing enterprises, single-industry companies and multi-profile firms, i.e., all organizations consider the introduction of scientific breakthrough as one of their priorities.

However, in order to make full use of inventions, industrial designs or utility models, an appropriate legal regime must be in place. In addition, it is important to find out whether the subject matter is patented by another person. To get an answer to the above question, we can use a patent search. Such a procedure can be carried out by the employees of the company, which plans to register or use the intellectual property object. But, like any other process, the patent search has its own ins and outs. Therefore, the most effective and expedient way is to seek professional advice from a company providing consulting services in the field of patenting.

So that to assess the chances of obtaining a patent for a developed result of intellectual activity, it is necessary to conduct an international patent information search or assess its patentability. The main conditions, for example, for obtaining a patent for an invention are feature of novelty, inventive level and industrial applicability. Since the criteria for obtaining patents in all countries are worldwide, the developed solution must also be unique throughout the world, that is, there should be no known analogous, the same or similar to the developed solution. If no same or similar solutions are found in the international search, there is a high probability of obtaining a patent.

Each type of search has a different purpose and requires a different strategy. Companies providing consulting services in patenting perform the following types of work in the field of patent search:

  • Patent analytics;
  • Patent clearance of the identified technique;
  • Patent landscaping.

It is worth noting that the essence of all the above services comes down to the search, collection and analysis of patent related information. The difference lies in the objectives and goals set in for the research, as well as the desired results.

Patent analytics is a patent search aimed at predicting the direction of technical decisions market development. Consulting company specialists analyze the patents identified and draw conclusions about the feasibility of scientific activity in a particular area. As K. Zaitseva rightly notes: “Patent analytics will help understand the intentions of competitors, determine technological trends, find developers and identify patents that may not be infringed...[1]”.

The patent clearance is conducted to identify valid patents in a particular territory, the exclusive rights of which may be infringed by a developed solution. Also, the existence of a patent does not always guarantee that someone’s exclusive rights, protected by the patents of others, are not infringed.

Non-infringement quality of an invention is the legal characteristic of an intellectual property object that it can be freely used in a given country without the risk of infringement of patents owned by third parties that are valid in its territory. The purpose of the patent clearance search is to identify the features of the patented technical and/or design intellectual property solution used in the object, despite the existing differences in other features.

The patentability search examines the object as a whole, all or most of the technical/design decisions implemented in it are evaluated. It is searched on a country-by-country basis. Patent clearance searches are carried out in a particular territory, usually in the countries of intended production and export of the product and within the patent validity period: 20 years for inventions (25 years for drug, pesticide or agrochemical inventions), 10 years for utility models, 25 years for industrial designs.

Patent landscaping is a type of patent and information search to study the data known in the technical field. The result of such research is a specialized report, with information for more comprehensible study of information for marketers. The information is presented in the form of graphs and charts, which allows to visualize the information about the patenting market in the investigated sphere of innovations. It gives the possibility to define a position and resources of the company in the market of technical decisions, as well as to assess the position of competitors and identify threats that may arise before the release of a new invention or other object on the market. It is worth noting that the patent landscape should be conducted on an ongoing basis, for example, once a quarter, once every six months, so that the company reacts to changes in the field of patents in a timely manner.

To summarize the above, we can conclude on the necessity and importance of such kind of analytical research as a patent search. Conducting various types of patent searches and reports based on the results of the research allows the client companies can:

  • Make a conclusion about the patentability of the obtained result of intellectual activity;
  • See the possibility of infringement of rights of third parties
  • Have a complete idea of the market of technical decisions and opportunities to strengthen its position at the expense of the use of patent rights.

Thus, a patent search, carried out by qualified specialists will save money and optimize the activities of an enterprise.