One cannot patent something unless it is completely new, novel, non-obvious and has industrial application. For the purpose of checking the novelty of the idea, patent search or patentability search is performed.
During every stage of innovation, awareness about current and previous research are vital for developing a clear path to progress. Review of patent and technical literature which is published with a global perspective influences the technical, legal, and business decisions. Therefore, at the initial stages of the invention lifecycle, it is of major importance. Missing important prior art can lead to repeating others’ research, unsuccessful projects, obliviousness to solutions of common challenges encountered, and losing ownership of licenses or products resulting from the research already patented.
The seven step strategy is usually suggested to perform primary searches of US Patents and published applications using USPTO and EPO (European Patent Office) free online resource.
The Seven Steps in a Primary Search of U.S. Patents and Published Patent Applications are:
1. Keyword Search: The process starts by brainstorming the search terms. Brief but precise description of the innovation is written. While doing so, a list of keywords and technical terms is prepared which might be of use in describing it. This can be done by keeping the following points in mind:
-The objective of the invention
-Whether the invention is a product or a process
-The composition of the invention
-The use of the invention
-Nature of the invention. Use of dictionary can also be made to search the relevant terms.
2. Search initial CPC class/subclass: The terms searched above are used to find relevant Cooperative Patent Classification using the USPTO website (uspto.gov). In the site search box on the home page, “CPC scheme [plus keyword describing innovation]”. The most relevant classification to the invention is then determined from the resulting classification’s class scheme. If the search yields zero results another keyword or alternative term is used.
3. Verify the relevancy of CPC class/subclasses: The CPC classification definition is reviewed to confirm the relevance of the CPC classification found in the above step.
4. Usage of PatFT: US Patent documents are retrieved with the selected CPC classification. It is done in the PatFT (Patents Full Text and Image) database. The front page information of the abstract and the representative drawings are reviewed. Most relevant patents publications are selected.
5. In Depth Review: The selected relevant patent publications are then taken for in-depth review. This is done to check similarity with the invention. Close attention is paid to the drawing pages, the specifications, and the legal claims page. Full patents can be viewed by clicking the “full pages” button, located on the left.
6. Usage of AppFT: This is done to review pending patent applications for closely related prior art. This is the final step is to ensure that there are no applications PTO is currently reviewing, that might match. For this purpose US published patent applications with the selected CPC classification in step 3 is searched in the AppFT (Applications Full Text and Image) database. Results are narrowed down for an in-depth review as mentioned in step 5. If there is nothing that matches the invention, then one can apply for US patent.
7.Broadening the Search: If the PTO searches don’t yield valuable results, widening of the search is done until desired results are obtained. This is a time-consuming process and the options available are:
-Keyword search in PatFT and AppFT databases.
-Search can be performed in US Patent Classification (USPC) too. USPC ended being used on US utility patents on 1/1/2015, but the classification system remains searchable for all pre-2015 US utility patents.
-The search can also be extended to foreign patents and published patent application using the CPC classification identified in step 3. The search can be re-run on Espacenet, which is European Patent Office’s worldwide patent publication database, of over 90 million patent publications.
-Books, journals, websites, technical catalogs, and conference proceedings can be searched for the publicly disclosed inventions.
-Or Hire a registered Patent Agent or Patent Attorney after conducting a preliminary patent search. He would review and conduct a follow-up search.
A thorough patent search will make your patents apt and stronger. At Intepat, we can execute a patent search for you to find novelty of your invention. With the aid of Intepat patent search, you get a detailed search that identifies relevant patents and patent applications compiled systematically at one place. Get started with the Intepat patent search process today.
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