When inventors do their own search, what they find tends to be pretty remote. Even many patent search firms that use expensive commercial search engines get poor results because such online search engines still do not compare to searches done on the advanced EAST system at the USPTO. Moreover, when you combine the USPTO search engine with the capabilities of our expert Patent Examiner searchers, we find you get search results that are very comparable to USPTO primary examiner searches. Unfortunately, many firms will outsource your invention and patent research work overseas (e.g., to India, or Asia) without you knowing it. This poses the risk of your idea being stolen by foreigners, leaving the you without any legal recourse.
The amount of differentiation is irrelevant. If your product matches ALL the limitations of a patent’s claim, then it infringes. Typically, it helps to do LESS than what is claimed by a patent.
Our Infringement Search identifies active patents and publications that may read on your invention. Prior to conducting the infringement search, we will work with you to identify the specific elements of the invention that should be considered for infringement.
Right To Use/Clearance Search
Our Right to Use/Clearance Search is a comprehensive search which identifies active and expired patents and published applications that may pose an infringement risk to the marketing of your inventive product or service. This may include foreign as well as domestic patents and publications.
Landscape Search/State Of The Art Search
Our Landscape Search will typically include all relevant patents, published applications, found within the related classes and sub-classes. Relevant patents as to the invention will be included. The search time and amount of cited patents will depend on the quantity of patents within the related classes and sub-classes and scope of the invention. Our state of the art search provides a representative collection of the latest technological patented advances within the field of interest.
Prior Art Search & Patent Invalidity Analysis
Be it to validate the enforceability of your patents or to invalidate one more claims of a patent as your first line of defense when confronted with an infringement allegation – the critical success factor in getting the search right is to understand the technology disclosed in the patent, scientific concepts and terms used in the patent and the claim limitations.
Experience in Invalidating Patents
Over the years, iRunway has worked in over 250 patent invalidity and prior art search projects and covered more than 600 patents for invalidity search. Our consultants have a strong track record of success in prior art search projects:
- 85% success in finding strong §102 and §103 prior art references
- In all defense matters, prior art found was used directly in the final expert invalidity report or re-examination filing.
- Early resolution and lower cost of settlement for clients based on the strength of prior art.
We search for prior art from diverse sources such as – patents, published patent applications (across countries) and various non-patent literatures such as academic journals, books, product literature and other online and offline publications. At iRunway, we believe that the context of the search is more important than the search process itself. As a practice, our consultants –
- Critically examine all embodiments of the patent to identify various alternate applications that are part of the invention and also identify those that have not been disclosed.
- List claim limitations that are difficult to find during prior art searches and combine multiple patent references to prove non-obviousness with ease. And interpret limitations reasonably and broadly to fully understand what to and what not to include.
- Pay close attention to patents that others hold which might enable competitors to block you. In my experience “freedom to operate” is more important when evaluating a business plan than patent ownership.
- It will rarely make sense for small company to sue a big company for patent infringement. The lawyers will probably be the winners.
- Non-patent intellectual property strategies can hold off copycats effectively. Trade secrets (parts of the product or production technology that are hard for competitors to replicate), knowledge of customers, and superior rate of innovation work best.
- Build your business on real competitive advantages: product value-in-use, customer relationships, rapid innovation. Don’t count on patents to defend you from your competitors.