Patent searching is vital before, during, and after the patent process. Patent searches tend to relate to three key aspects, 1) patentability, 2) infringement, and 3) watching.
Each of these key aspects is important and can provide unique insights at different stages of an invention, from conception all the way to commercialisation and beyond.
Patentability searches assess whether your invention is novel (new) over what is already publicly available. Novelty, in combination with non-obviousness, are key criteria for patentability.
During a novelty search, we will look for earlier publications that might disclose your invention, or features of your intention. These earlier disclosures may be found in patent documents as well as academic literature and other sources such as blogs and forums. Any prior public disclosure may affect your ability to obtain patent protection.
It is best to perform patentability searches before embarking on the patenting process. Patentability searches provide a good picture of the market and can help to identify development opportunities.
Often, investors will request to see patent searching of this type before making investment decisions.
Infringement searching, sometimes called freedom to operate, is targeted towards granted or pending patents and is focused on the claims of those patents. The claims define the scope of protection covered by the patent. In particular, claim 1 often defines the broadest scope of protection afforded by a patent.
During infringement searching, we will closely analyse pending and granted patents in jurisdictions of commercial interest. We can restrict these types of searches to your competitors, or we can search the technology area more broadly.
It is best to perform infringement searching if your product is near finalisation or if you are aware of any competitors. Alternatively, if you are aware of an existing product that is similar to your invention, we can advise whether you are infringing patents relating to the existing product as well as outline ways to minimise infringement risk.
Patent watches are useful to keep abreast of your competitors’ patent filings, or a technology market generally. This type of searching can be useful to identify gaps in the market as well as to ensure there is no encroachment on your intellectual property rights.
Searching is a complex matter and all searching needs are different. Contact the patent law team at Kings Patent & Trade Marks Attorneys for a complimentary 30-minute consultation to discuss your search.