The patent research is an essential step in the process of the patent application. It serves to determine whether your invention does already exist or not and thus whether it would actually be worthwhile. It doesn?t matter if you?re doing the patent research autonomously or if you dedicate the task to an attorney ? in any case the work has to be accomplished like from a proficient. If you?re not accomplishing the patent research properly and if you?re missing anything, your patent might be refused at the audit procedure by the department. Any previous capital expenditures and time which you have investigated would have been for nothing. That?s the reason why we would like to tell you today whereon a proficient is paying attention to while doing a patent research. Possibly you might then determine whether you dare to conduct a patent research on your own or whether you prefer to play it safe by letting an expert do this work.
How am I doing a research?
In the first instance we would like to entrust to you that the research for the state of the art should be conducted before the development of your invention. This is crucial insofar as you can save a considerable amount of time and money if your idea already exists. There are several instruments and methods to conduct a research. Indeed you should not start searching with a tool which came the first along. Not every data base is equally appropriate for your purposes. Furthermore it is recommendable to reflect about a strategy in advance.
We would like to present you a method which we think is the most appropriate to find out whether there already exists a patent to your invention. This involves a combination of a research for keywords and a research for so called patent classifications. What both research methods are about in detail will be discussed later. Anyhow it is important to search for the technique detail of your invention in the intersection of both research results. Are there already patents in this intersection which match the technique portion of your invention? If not, then your hope has been fulfilled and you can apply for your patent without infringing any other already existing one.
The research for key words
Vital to a successful research for keywords is the choice for convenient words which correlate directly or indirectly with your invention respectively your technology. How you might then determine there are several items and synonyms which come into question for the research. Therefore we would recommend you to search for synonymous words and transcriptions apart from the item which describes your invention distinctly. Additionally to the technical terms you can also search for general phrasings. Another important fact is to enter the search items in several languages as some data bases are multilingual. Bit by bit it then is advisable to elaborate your research and to search for more and more detailed items. If you would like to search for a concrete name, you should pay attention to the following fact: company names aren?t always written in the same way. Sometimes shortcuts are written out, sometimes not. Moreover some company names have a suffix which is often excluded. Occasionally mistakes are sneaking in the translation of company names. Does your company eventually also has affiliated companies? Possibly a patent isn?t stored under the parent group. Last but not least another tip for you. It may seem self-evident, indeed it is often forgotten: Always document, file and store all research results. Otherwise you might lose track.
For the search for keywords there are several data bases. In the most cases it is advisable to search in various databases since every data base is different. Therefore it is also important to inquire which one is the most appropriate for you. There are databases which are designed for beginners while other research data bases are very complex. Also the languages of the data bases are different. Moreover some data bases cover a different number of countries.
The research for patent classifications
Except the research for keywords you should also search for patent classifications. Every patent application is classified and is attributed to one or several fields of technology. For that to happen there is a research tool, the International Patent Classification (IPC). It is used by more than 100 patent departments and is thus the most universal tool. It is separated in 8 sections:
1 daily living requirements
2 manufacturing processes, transportation
3 chemistry, metallurgy
4 textile, paper
5 architecture, mining
6 machine engineering, illumination, heating, weapons
8.0 electrical engineering
Each of those sections is segmented in classes, subsections, main groups and subgroups. You may take the following example as an explanation. There is the second section called ?manufacturing processes, transportation?. The class ?trackless surface vehicle? is subordinated to this section. A further subsection would be ?bicycles, motorcycles, bicycle devices? and so on and so forth. The search for patents in classifications has various advantages. On the one hand you are able to research in worldwide databases by the means of the IPC. On the other hand the research h happens completely independent from the language in which the patent specification was written.
The methods should be combined!
In any case we suggest a combination of both methods in order to achieve a result which is as accurately as possible. Especially in the intersection of the patents of both methods are the most relevant patents for you. If you find for example a patent in the keyword research but then you determine that this patent isn?t classified to one relevant classes, the patent does possibly not enact a part for you.
There is no recipe for patent researches
In conclusion we would like to point out that this post only serves to give you a first impression about the procedure of a patent research. The topic is very complex, in each case the best research method may vary. Therefore we would like to offer you a personal conversation in which we are able to meet your concrete case and to counsel you specifically. Even if you might then realize that you feel more secure when an expert does the patent research for you, we would be glad to undertake this step for you. But also if you?ve already started the research on your own but don?t know what to do next, we are willing to stand by your side at short notice and will take care of the further research.
In each case a patent attorney is able to get a better and faster overview over the patent research by means of his trained eye. Either way a self-contained patent research is possible and we don?t want to withhold our tips from you. Indeed we would like to warn you as the procedure is not childishly-simple.