What is a patent search?
A patent search is a key step forward toward a successful patent application. It is a search for published patent applications and granted patents before the priority date of any proposed invention which serves as an important document in determining the novelty and patentability of the proposed invention.
Importance of patent search
Patent searches act as an important tool in determining the patentability and novelty of any proposed idea or invention. The patent search helps in prevent applicants/inventors from filing for duplicate work, patent searches also help the organization in the identification of technical gaps, help in understanding the competitor’s strategy, and help in strengthening the research and development facility. Further patent searches help in identifying potential infringers and also prevent organizations from infringing others’ products or markets. Efficiently monitoring and conducting searches helps in tracking expired patents and provide an edge for pharma manufacturers to launch the generic version of the innovator.
Patent search in India
Although a no. of paid and non-paid search engines are available for searching the data, for Indian patent applications the best available source is the patent search software developed by the Indian patent office(inPASS). InPASS was introduced as a search tool by CGPDTM in February, 2015. InPASS allows searching full-text for patents as well as patent applications, allowing for search using wild cards, truncation, and Boolean operators.
InPASS(Indian patent advanced search system) enables users to search for both granted and published patent applications.
Opting for patent search, enables users to search on various fields;
One can select fields like title, applicant’s name, applicant’s country, Inventor name, abstract, description, inventor’s name, patent classification, etc. These fields aid in providing an exhaustive search for the user. The InPASS also provides the use of the ‘Boolean Operators’ and/or for designing a better search strategy.
InPASS facilitates the search for Indian patent applications in both ordinary and national phases. The other search engines lag behind in providing accurate data for the applications filed at IPO. Providing advantages for search InPASS has overcome the various obstacles associated with the earlier IPAIRS, Indian Patent Information Retrieval System. However, searching with InPASS still faces some hurdles including;
- One cannot export or import data from the search result,
- No statistical presentations are available as we receive from patentscope,
- Non-proper functioning of the ‘AND’ or ‘OR’ operators within one entry field as the system does not recognize both the operators within the same entry,
- Data lag
Tips on how to improve the search with InPASS in India
While performing the search, it is very important to understand the purpose behind the search first and then further design the search strategy. The search strategy for different types of searches would be different, let us assume that you are performing a Freedom to operate search in India- then the strategy would be to search for enforced and live patents. Likewise, for patentability all the patent literature needs to be searched, whether alive, expired, abandoned, or withdrawn.
Some of the tips and suggestions for improving your overall search experience:
- Analyse the invention disclosure thoroughly to identify the key features- it is of utmost importance to identify the novel features first and then formulate keywords for search;
- Formulate a proper key string for a searching-a proper key string with a collection of the keywords enclosing the novel features of the invention would aid in relevant data retrieval,
- Perform a classification search (if aware of the class)- identifying the classes to which your invention is also the right way to get better search results and one can refrain from getting non-relevant results,
- Use synonyms for fetching exhaustive results- sometimes the same feature may be disclosed by a different term with the same meaning, hence it is important to use the synonyms to not miss the proper results,
- Try to start with a broader search string and then gradually narrow it down using various fields,
- While looking for competitors, search for assignees and use the same keywords as your competitors,
- While searching for product patents/application search after the year 2005, as before that only process patents were allowed in India,
- While using Boolean ‘AND’ and ‘NOT’ in India try to break the search string in different parts and then use AND with each part in a different row under the same field. For example; while searching for
“A green method for generating electricity” in the description;
Rather than using “A green method for generating electricity” in a single sentence under the description field,
Description- green method; Boolean ‘AND’
Description- for generating; Boolean ‘AND’
Description – electricity; Boolean ‘AND’
Following this one can effectively use ‘AND’ operator while searching with InPASS.
- While using two words in a search, use the + symbol before each word so that only a document that has both words appear.
- While looking for a document that contains “XY” and doesn’t contain “EZX”. Use (+) a query term and prohibit the use of (-) one.
With the tips above and a proper search strategy, one can improve their search opinion.
Hope these tips help in your search experience; “Happy searching”
Contact Intellect Vidhya Solutions for Best Patent Search Services in India.