Impact of Patent Searching in Product and Process Research

Every innovator hopes that their work is unique and potential in cohesion with the positive research outcome. Many times, repeating the work that others have already contributed is a waste of valuable resources like time and money. Avoiding the wastage of resources is very significant specifically when the researcher or inventor is planning to apply for a patent and any other IP Protection. There are many real-time instances to highlight the problems that have resulted from failing to execute a good patent search along with the technical literature review.

A patent provides exclusive rights to the inventor in recognition of his hard work and investment of his time in developing the invention as means of incentive to protect and stops others copying or infringing the inventive technology. With ample time and money at stake, it is empathetic to note that academic researchers and R&D of SME’s are giving least importance to search for patents prior to the initiation of their research work.

Researchers in academia and SME’s mostly search only the existing technical literatures available in the web while conveniently ignoring the fact that the potential patent search yields quality research outcome in developing the innovation besides significantly contributing in tackling the objections that arise during the prosecution stage prior to the patent grant. Having had expertise with years of experience in a particular technical domain, a researcher might feel very familiar with the works that were published in public domain. On the contrary, most of researchers in the big companies and industries rarely publish their precious research findings in the journal articles due to confidential constraints. Instead, they give more focus on applying for patents to protect their inventions.

A decade ago, searching for patents was complex for most of the people. Regional country specific Patent office’s such as the Indian Patent Office, European Patent Office (EPO) and the US Patent and Trademarks Office (USPTO) etc. offer free access to the published patents. However, these databases are not easy to search in getting the accurate results but with sufficient professional expertise one can master the art of searching. Only simple search terms can be used, and many patents are written in complicated legal language. Additionally, some patents are recorded in a non-text format; e.g. images or gene sequences. To carry out a proper search, you need to understand how patents are written and organized and there necessitates the need of professional patent researcher and patent analyst to assist in providing the appropriate results. Open web portals like Google Patents offers free access to data from several patent offices in the world. But this can be searched using complex search strings, and results can be filtered. Paid and Proprietary premium databases available at IdeationIP offer the services more comprehensive manner to search the databases, giving researchers a better chance of discovering relevant patents.

It is imperative for academic researchers and SME’s to carry out a patent search before they invest potential time and money in R&D efforts. Few more reasons why we should consider patent searching very important is:

  • Save money: Around 40% of R&D budgets go waste on developing inventions that already exist! Do not re-invent same wheel instead try to improvise to the next level.
  • Research Data: Most relevant technical data sometimes will be found in patents only, not just in research journals/articles.
  • Find better information: Companies patent inventions that are potential, valuable and they do take prompt measures in safeguarding. It is worthwhile to search and study those patents for better outcome.
  • Assist in applying for a patent on your research: Searching patents can help you find out what others/competitors in the similar technical field are doing, and affirm if your work is unique and potential and this will facilitate as the first step towards filing your patent application.


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