If you’re thinking about a patent search, you’ve come to the right place. You will most likely be at the beginning of your journey to developing and protecting your idea – and slightly confused? Here is where we swoop in and give you the honest and clear facts about world wide patent searching.
We sat down with Thom, a client manager here at Innovate, to grill him about all the questions he gets most often.
So you’ve got a good idea, what happens next?
Thom always advises to thoroughly check the internet first. If you haven’t found anything similar, it’s time to think about a patent search.
A patent search looks at the background of your idea to see if anyone has come up with anything similar, and tried to protect it. But why is this important? Because to protect your idea and get it out on the market, it has to be different from anything already thought of. Also, by seeing what similar functions have been successfully protected, it can help define boundaries in the field you would like to operate and can guide you in how best to develop your design as you take your product forward.
Is this something you can do yourself?
Absolutely. All published patent applications are in the public domain and can be freely searched online using traditional search engines such as Google, or more specialist IP websites such as Espacenet. However, this can be quite tricky and an information overload. (This is where we come in!)
Perhaps for a similar reason you might pay a fee to an expert in any field. Mechanics, tradesmen, professionals such as lawyers or accountants…all of these people perform tasks that you could technically do yourself but which you probably feel more comfortable in handing over to a specialist who has extensive experience of successfully completing.
We are constantly striving to develop our processes, refine our techniques and perfect our search output. We have an extremely experienced team of trained intellectual property researchers who specialise in finding the patent documents that relate to the ideas submitted and have produced many thousands of these search reports over the years.
How do we do it?
We subscribe for private databases that are not available to the general public. This means that even if you were an expert in using Google or Espacenet, you still may not be able to find the range and breadth of patent documents that our researchers are able to collate.
What do the results mean?
The patent search doesn’t give you a yes or no answer. It is there to provide you with as much useful information as possible. Your client manager will be on hand to discuss the results, and the next steps.
Okay, the search is complete, but you find something similar.
Don’t worry, this can happen. It’s not necessarily the end of the line, it’s good to know at this early stage. We might be able to design the product in a different way to overcome the similarities. There can be lots of different outcomes.
What do you do now?
The best thing to do is send the idea in for review, so we can advise you on the best steps for your idea. You can request an information pack here or send the idea in via our online form here.
If you have already done this and are in touch with a client manager already, give them a call if you need to discuss anything further.