The cost of the patent search for your invention(s) can pay dividends in controlling downstream costs of patent protection as well identifying early in a product launch cycle patents of your competitors.
In our experience, once you complete your assessment at the end of the patent search phase, there is less than a 50% chance you will decide to proceed with the patenting process for your invention. Your decision to proceed will be based on a business valuation by you on whether the potential profit associated with the sale of your invention supports the cost of patent protection and that that patent protection covers a market segment for your invention.
A patent search can be made prior to making a decision to launch a product embodying the invention and/or before making a decision to file a patent application for the invention.
The patent search may identify patents problematic to the launch of a product embodying the invention. In addition, the search may identify patents on competing products held by competitors or potential competitors. This type of search is often called a patent clearance search.
The patent search should identify patents and published patent applications that are relevant prior art to your invention. This prior art is assessed to make recommendations on different features of the invention that can be included in your patent claim(s) to distinguish your claimed invention from this prior art. This type of search is often referred to as a novelty search or a patentability search.
From the patent search you should be able to make an initial valuation on the scope of the protection relative to your business. You should also determine what competitive value of a patent for your invention relative to other competitor patents. These considerations together with a consideration of the profit margin and volume of product sold embodying the invention should lead you to a conclusion on whether or not you should spend the funds necessary to obtain patent protection on the invention and make a determination on a country filing strategy.
The searches should target those markets where you most expect to sell product or practice methods incorporating the invention. It is not economically feasible to search all country patent records nor is it economically feasible to search all patent records in a single country. Patent search strategies need to be carried out to optimize the field of the patent search. For example, searches of the US patent office database and a world patent index database may be suitable for the launch of a product launch in North America. If you plan to manufacture in Canada, then the Canadian patent office should also be searched.
Let Craig Wilson and Company assist you with the patent search and patent analysis. Let us provide you with a framework to consider the valuation of your invention.