Complete reference on patent search
Lean complete process of securing with in depth patent search
Friday July 21, 2017,
6 min Read
Do you have an invention that you would like to protect with the patent registration. A patent is a mutually beneficial exchange between an inventor and the public for an inventor a patent offers protection by excluding others from making using or selling the invention in exchange the idea is made available to the public through the publication of the patent. This encourages even more new innovations in order to get a patent approved your invention must be new, useful and non-obvious. In other words you have to make sure your idea has not already been thought of by someone else in the world. The most effective way to see if your idea is original is to search for patents by classification in the global patent database called a spas net.
When you walkthrough a movie store or browse for a movie online you are using a classification system. Movies are commonly organized by classes called genres such as comedy or drama, genres make it easier for you to find the type of movie you want to watch. Similarly, patents are also grouped together into classes and subclasses so that you can find inventions similar to your own faster and easier. The IPC is an international classification system developed by the World Intellectual Property Organization and used by over 90 countries to simplify patent organization. Instead of searching each country's patent classifications individually the IPC allows you to search all 90 countries patents at once. The United States Patent and Trademark Office or USPTO has its own patent classification system called the US PC they began transitioning to the co-operative patent classification for utility patents in 2013 and will finish in 2015. The cooperative patent classification or CPC is a collaborative effort between the US and European patent offices it is an extension of the IPC that has almost 200,000 more subclasses these subclasses allow you to be more specific when searching which means you have less patents to look through because of the way patents are classified. Keywords alone are not an effective search strategy let's say your invention is a new and improved waffle maker a search using the keywords waffle maker only brings up 50 results yet there are hundreds more patents describing equipment used to make waffles. This is because people in other states or countries might call a waffle maker something different such as waffle iron or use more technical terms than the average consumer.
If you search with only the term waffle about 3000 results are found including many irrelevant inventions such as this cooling garment that uses the term waffle to describe its shape if you search by classification you are less likely to miss the patent similar to your idea. And you will have less irrelevant patents to look through when you begin your search. Be sure to write down all the terms that best describe your idea what does it do? what is the end product or effect? what is it made of? what is it used for remember? Once you write everything down that describes your patent idea you are ready to find relevant classes and subclasses we will use the ax spas net database which has both US and international patents at the same place.
To get to the classification search go to worldwide data spas Netcom then click on classification search to search with keywords type. Add the terms into the box and click search then choose from the results to browse the classification click on the symbols to get more and more specific classes the hierarchy of classes and subclasses is visually shown with dots the box with a D on the right-hand side indicates a definition or suggestions for another class. Notice here that if domestic waffle irons are in a different class I will write both subclasses down to search later. Remember to think of how an invention works not just how it is used for example if you create a new hinge for the waffle maker you would want to look for hinge patents as well as waffle maker patents. What other inventions might use a hinge if someone has already thought of the same hinge only for a Panini press rather than a waffle maker.
Now that you have relevant classes and subclasses it is time to start reviewing patents to get to a list of patents in a particular subclass you can check the box next to the class and click find patents type the class into the smart search and click search or put the classification into the advanced search screen. Make sure there are no spaces in the classification once you have a list of patents click on the titles to review each one individually. A summary of the patent appears on the screen if a patent is in another language you can use the red patent translate button to translate the information into the language of your choice. The menu on the left side allows you to navigate the information in the patent. To download a patent go to the original document tab and choose download you can collect up to 100 relevant patents in my patents list by clicking on the red star. To view your list click on my patents list at the top you can download the collection as a PDF by checking select all then clicking on download. The PDF will include a coversheet with a table of contents to your selected patents and an outline to navigate the patent pens are often assigned more than one class. You can use your relevant patents to come up with additional subclasses you didn't think of the first time around not all patents have been assigned a CPC number. So it is a good idea to write down both the CPC and IPC numbers and search for them separately when you click on the class the description will pop up allowing you to decide if the new class is relevant to your idea showing that your idea has not already been thought of by someone else. Patent searches can take anywhere from 10 to 30 hours to complete use your new list of classes and subclasses to repeat the search process. A thorough patent search or patent analytics will keep going until no new relevant patents appear to save time keep a list of the classes and patent numbers you have already reviewed and copies of the relevant patents. This way you know that you are not searching the same thing twice. While you can always do patent search on your own hiring a Patent Attorney is a secure way to get best analysis from legal point of view. Many people hire patent agents who have limited knowledge of science and no understanding of law which results in a search that might end up loosing your invention rights.