IPitch Articles Archive
By Guest Author on Tuesday, September 13th, 2011
This article was written by Frazer McLennan, Patent Searcher of Shelston IP. Shelston IP is iPitch’s Legal and Intellectual Property Partner.
Once upon a time I studied thermodynamics. I was told that the first time you study thermodynamics you don’t know what you are doing; the second time you think you know what you are doing; and the third time you know you don’t know what you are doing, but by that time it’s too late so you just get on and do it. Patent searching is a bit like thermodynamics in that respect. It may seem difficult at first and then appear easier, but a little confidence can be a dangerous thing. There is more to patent searching than entering a few keywords and numbers.
Your intentions define what type of search you need to do. If you have an idea for a product that you want to protect then a novelty or patentability search is required. If you want to import a product into a country then a freedom to operate search is required. These two types of searches have vastly different requirements. Infringement searches are relevant to a specific country, are generally limited to patents that are still current and involve investigating every feature of the product. Novelty searches need to be worldwide, usually back to a time before Federation, but look at the product as a whole. With over 30 million patents worldwide and a million or so being filed every year that’s a lot of searching, which leads me to…