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. For our costs on patent searching see Patent Searching Costs .
In our experience, once you complete your assessment at the end of the patent search phase, your decision to proceed with filing a patent application will be based on a better understanding of the scope of patent protection you can obtain. For example, you may think you have invented “bread” when in fact the patent search shows that “bread” and “sliced bread” are known and what you are left with is “croutons”. Does this scope of protection have value to your business and make it worthwhile for you to proceed? Being able to make this decision is one benefit of having a patentability search made.
A second benefit is not incurring unnecessary prosecution cost as a consequence of the patent application being drafted without the benefit of the search to cover “bread” or “sliced bread” and being open to a challenge by the Patent Examiner as being anticipated or obvious in view of the prior art. Furthermore, if the search had found a patent to “croutons”, a decision not to file a patent application could be made by you and save you the cost of drafting a patent application.
A patentability search is a patent search made to identify patents and published patent applications that are relevant prior art to your invention.
A freedom to operate search is a patent search made to identify patents problematic to the launch of a product embodying one or more new features introduced by the business.
A patent search is usually conducted prior to making a decision to launch a product with new features and/or before making a decision to file a patent application for the invention.
The searches should target those markets where you most expect to sell product or practice methods incorporating the invention. 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 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 value of your invention to your business.
For more information on our patent searching costs please see Patent Searching Costs.