Patent and Invention Searches

November 1, 2012
Patent and Invention Searches

Registered patents and inventions represent the technological status of a sector or country. Today, nearly allindustrialized countries have electronic databases run by their government operated patent and trademark offices,which include inventions that have been registered and that are currently being used, or which will soon be usedin commerce. As a result, it is relevant, though infrequent, for companies to consider searching various databasesrun by the governmental patent and trademark offices (meaning registered inventions or those whose registrationis under way and have been published), in order to become aware of the technological tendencies within theirsector. Failure to do so means potentially losing out on a great opportunity to initiate investigations based on theresults obtained and being able to identify those inventions that have entered the public domain because of thepassage of time so that such may be used by anyone. Companies frequently develop new and costly products andprocesses without first identifying their competitors’ products and processes that are currently in the marketand/or without identifying the direction in which their competitors are headed. Official databases containingpatent and invention registrations offer current information (pending applications are published prior toregistration in the majority of cases), which may allow for the identification of specific solutions to certainproblems and allow identification of legal protection for such inventions. As a result, searching these databasesmay assist in avoiding potential infringement on inventions that belong to third parties. Thus, it is a goodpractice for companies to develop a systematic and frequent search system of relevant inventions entering themarket that could affect future market trends and companies’ overall development strategy.

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