A prior art search tries to find descriptions of technical solutions in the patent literature – or in other technical publications. And the possible uses of the results are many. You may be at the beginning of a development project and you want an overview of what others have already developed. Or you have made an invention and want to protect it. Finding the closest prior art will help you describe the truly novel aspects of your invention and help you plan your patenting strategy. Perhaps you are simply looking for a solution to a problem. Or you have been accused of patent infringement and you need to find out if the patent is actually valid.
Novelty search: One requirement for obtaining a patent is that the invention as described in the application, is new. And after the patent application is filed, you cannot add anything to it. Before filing a patent application it is therefore important to know as much as possible about the prior art. This will allow you to plan your patenting strategy and make sure you include sufficient description of details that set your invention apart and make it unique.
Patent validity search: In principle this is also a novelty search, but the situation is very different. Now you are trying to find out if there are prior art publications that can undermine the validity of a granted patent. Perhaps you have been threatened with a competitor’s patent, and you are trying to find out if that patent is actually valid and enforceable. If you can show that it might not be, you will improve your negotiating position substantially, and you may even be able to convince a court or a patent office to declare that the patent is invalid.
State of the art: There is no need to reinvent the wheel. A search for already existing technology can save you from that experience, and help you design your own development projects in order to truly bring the technology forward.
Solution to a specific problem: This is similar to a state of the art search, but the scope is narrower. You are not out to learn something about the state of the art in general, but to find a specific solution to a specific problem – perhaps the solution is already freely available, or perhaps you can license the solution from somebody else instead of developing it yourself.
Zacco offers tailor made searches adapted to your specific needs. We have our own search experts, we have access to a wide range of databases of patent publications as well as technical and academic publications, and we also have a number of preferred external search providers that we use. Our ambition is to provide you with the best search results for your needs, and we do this by using the resources that best match your requirements.