Patent Search: Determine how prior art is similar or different?
Patent filing requires “money”. Patents have filing fees, professional fees and maintenance fees over the life of the patent and a large amount of money is required for the defence of the patent. A Patent search is carried out inorder to ascertain that the patent generates enough financial gains to justify the cost associated with its filing and the time and expense of moving forward with a patent application is a worthwhile.
For inventors, searching prior-art in the form of patents filed and granted should be the first step in the patent application process. Patent search gives an opportunity to discover which aspects of your invention can be claimed and high quality patent searches can help inventors anticipate about the scope of any patent claim. Without a patent search an inventor will describe the various aspects of an invention as if they are equally important which won’t be the case.
A patent is lot more than just a document. Careful assessment of patents found in the search report is tedious but the inventors who really take the time to read the key patents found in the search know its importance in contributing to the decision about whether to move forward with the patent application and then ultimately to meaningfully contribute to the preparation of a patent application.
Unfortunately, a lot of inventors only give a hasty and not thorough review of the patents found, thereby missing a great opportunity to use the prior art found to figure out what is most likely unique and patentable. Inventors perhaps look at the titles, the pictures, maybe read the Abstract and get overwhelmed.
For this reason inventors frequently choose to hire a patent professional or patent attorney for carrying out patent search. The inventor has the detailed knowledge of the invention, and is in the best position to identify the similarity and differences of the invention with respect to the prior art and the patent professional is in the best position to determine whether those differences will likely contribute to patentability through a collaborative approach.
A detailed compiled disclosure of the invention forms the foundation of a strong patent application. Determining how the prior art is similar and how it is different is essential to being able to gather great detail of information that can be put together while writing a patent application and invariably leads to a far more detailed written description of the invention.
Many a times inventors carry out a patent search themselves before filing a patent application and during the patent examination an exact invention already patented is found. But this is why you do the search!!!!
Thus, It is better to spend a modest amount of money on patent search before filing a patent application to learn about the prior patents instead of spending a lot of money on patent application only to learn later that no patent could be obtained.