Patents searches

In order to obtain information on the patentability of an invention, or the validity of a patent, or the patent titles existing in a specific field or owned by a specific owner, it is necessary to carry out the appropriate specific searches. There are different types of specific searches, each of which is characterized by its own level of reliability with regard to the results.

Through specific searches it is possible to know whether there are any patents, and which, in the name of a competitor, or in the name of an inventor. It is also possible, if one has the reference of a patent title, to verify where the patent was extended, reconstructing its family, to verify if it is still valid, to know (in some countries) what happened, and why, during the examination procedure which led to the grant. It is also possible to know if there are divisional titles. It is also possible to know what condition a patent title is in (application, granted, opposed, etc.), and in some countries to have an understanding of its validity if it is still at the application stage. Knowing a specific field of interest, it is possible to carry out a fact-finding survey of the relative state of the art.

Each type of search has its own level of certainty, and only in a few and rare cases can this reach 100%. With regard to the level of certainty that can be obtained with the search, there are many factors that affect it, such as: quality of the sources consulted; how up-to-date they are; definition of the aims of the search; number of sources consulted; specialization of the person/body carrying out the search; contents of the databases consulted. It must be noted that search bodies adopt their own search methods, so very rarely does a search carried out by two independent search bodies give the same results. Often it is advisable to have the same search done by two different search bodies.

It is also possible to carry out alert searches, which allow to follow a particular sector periodically, or one or more competitors, in order to understand in a short time how the relative technology is evolving. This kind of search normally provides information with a delay of 19-20 months from the date of first filing of a patent.


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