What is a Patent Search?
A patent gives its owner the right to prevent others from making, using, importing or selling the invention without approval. Before such a right is granted, there obviously is a rigorous check on whether the process or product is inventive (i.e. isn’t obvious), novel (hasn’t been anticipated in any published document) and industrially applicable (possesses utility). It involves a search of the database of the intellectual property regulator of India to check whether there exists an object or invention that is the same as or similar to applicant’s invention. This is also known as a prior art search.
6 Essential Facts on Patent Search
What is a patent?
A patent is a legal document that gives the right or authority of a particular field of research, an invention or any other processes to a person applying for it. Hence, the patent is the right granted to the ‘owner’ of the invention, and it can be anything ranging from product to services. A patent gives its owner the right to prevent others from making, using, importing or selling the invention without approval.
What is a patent search?
A patent search is a preliminary process for filing/applying for a patent. Before such a right is granted, there obviously is a rigorous check on whether the process or product is inventive, novel (has not been a part of any published document) and industrially applicable (possesses utility). It involves a search of the database of the intellectual property regulator of India to check whether there exists an object or invention that is the same as or similar to applicant’s invention.
Why is a patent search essential?
Every year, the authorities get thousands of applications for filing patents. Not all the applications filed for a patent get approved by the authorities. The reason usually is that there are other similar inventions/applications or the steps involved in the invention is not innovative. For example, pharmaceutical companies in India file for patents every year when their research and development teams invent a product or mostly, the ‘steps’ to formulate or derive a particular active ingredient (drug). Often, these drugs are not innovative and the innovation is not registered. Thus, instead of wasting time on the patent process, it is best to find out through patent search if there are any similar inventions/applications already patented.
What is inPASS?
In India, a patent is provided by the Indian patent advanced search system or inPASS. This was introduced in 2015. InPass allows a full text search of all patents and applications that have been registered so far in the country. Every year, several companies and individuals file for patents for their inventions. Hence, an official register or database is maintained to ensure no duplication of patents on similar or same products/applications are awarded. The patent search is thus an attempt to search the complete database to find if any company or individual has filed for a patent for an application similar to the one for which patent is being sought.
InPass, the database where all patents and patent applications are stored, give a detailed insight into all the patents in the area of research, and thus, help in analysing, scrutinising and also deciding if it is worthwhile to file for a patent registration. A patent search is a mandatory step before filing for patent registration.
What are advantages of a patent search?
There are two major advantages of a patent search, even if it can be time-consuming or you need to hire an expert in the field to do it. The first is the chance of getting an approval on your patent application increases manifold..The second is that it saves money. It is better to take precautions before filing for a patent which may or may not gets approved. A patent research will give a detailed account of applications filed on similar products and help you decide what or how to frame your application, since patents for inventions are filed with steps involved and all other essential information.
If there is a public search function, why hire an expert?
Although the database is simple and easy to operate, the process of patent search itself requires an expert in the field. The patent agents or an attorney with expertise in patent filing and law can increase accuracy and help speed up your search. Such a thorough search can help you decide whether to go ahead with the patent application or not and also to identify the areas in which your investors and competitors are interested in.