Patent searches are carried out for various reasons:
- A state-of-the-art search identifies publications, patents (including published patent applications, patents which are in force, and expired patents) and patenting trends in a particular field. This is useful for researchers to keep track of developments in their fields on interest.
- A novelty or prior art search identifies publications and patents (including published patent applications, patents which are in force, and expired patents) which disclose inventions or technologies relevant or similar to one’s new invention at an earlier date.
- An infringement or freedom-to-operate search identifies patents which are in force whose claims might cover one’s own invention or certain features of one’s invention.
Searches can be carried out by keyword, patent classification, key inventors or companies (assignees or applicants) active in a given field, etc. The effectiveness of a patent search will depend on the search strategy, which defines the relevant parameters. There are several patent databases available, both free and by subscription.
The CSIR subscribes to Thomson Innovation, a platform which integrates IP data, scientific literature, business data and news with analytic tools (access can be requested via Licensing & Ventures), and QPat, and CSIRIS offers a search service on Dialog, which includes the Derwent World Patent Index. Assistance with patent searches can be obtained from your R&D Outcomes Manager, Licensing & Ventures and CSIRIS.