Four Reasons to Search with a Global Mindset

Aug 5, 2020

Four Reasons to Search with a Global Mindset

The world is the same size it has always been, but it definitely feels smaller. We are united by information, which has drastically increased the need to approach patent searches with a global mindset. If your patent searches are still being limited to only a few patent office archives, here are four reasons why you may want to reconsider.

#1 – Prior Art Is a Global Concept

Starting with the basics, the first reason to approach patent searches with a global mindset is that prior art (the references that stand between you and your patent) can come from anywhere in the world. Even if you are only applying for a patent in the United States and you do not plan on seeking patent protection in any other territories, U.S. patent law requires that your invention be both “novel” and “non-obvious” in light of global patent references. Refusing to search for prior art generated outside the United States means voluntarily remaining blind to internationally produced prior art, which could completely upend your patentability analysis.

Prior art research is a critical step in the patent application process. Learn what to review for prior art research.


#2 – The World Is Connected

There is no doubt that the world is more connected than ever. Patent references are largely archived in patent authority databases, and patent authorities can now easily share information with one another fairly easily. Additionally, many non-patent prior art references are just a few clicks away thanks to the world wide web. What this boils down to is that, despite having a limited amount of time to assess an invention’s patentability, patent examiners have relatively few blind spots when it comes to conducting patent searches. As a patent practitioner or patent applicant, conducting a global patent search puts you on par with your patent examiner and provides you with a better opportunity to develop a successful patent prosecution strategy.

Read International Access: Entry Points for Global Patent Searches to learn more.

#3 – Most Prior Art Is International

There was a time when patent applicants could get by with focusing their prior art searches on references from the United States because a large percentage of global patent filings were submitted to the USPTO. Today, the scales have tipped and, according to World Intellectual Property Organization (WIPO) statistics, the USPTO received only 18% of the world’s patent filings in 2019. Thanks to aggressive patent reform and incentives to inventors, the Chinese Patent Office received over 46% of the world’s total patent filings in 2019, and is the new global leader. Other patent leaders include Japan, the Republic of Korea and the European Patent Office, which accepted a combined 21% of global patent filings in the same year. The distribution of prior art around the world now makes global mindset during patent searches a necessity for developing a comprehensive picture of patentability before filing.

Explore how to identify relevant patent records in global patent search results.

WIPO Graphic - Country shares of patent applications

#4 – Global Search Tools Are Available

Global patent searches used to be cumbersome, but that is no longer the case. Modern patent search platforms unify worldwide patent databases and enable access to global prior art with a single search query. The LexisNexis TotalPatent One® patent search tool gives users the ability to search more than 1 million patent documents from over 100 patent authorities around the globe. TotalPatent One® also has many features for tailoring and narrowing searches for quick, on-point results, and it is equipped with full-text, machine-translated patent references to break down the language barrier that often accompanies the review of international prior art. Learn more about conducting your patent search using the USPTO’s Seven Step Patent Search Strategy.

The world is connected, and you can be, too. TotalPatent One is your global patent search solution.

Use LexisNexis TotalPatent One® patent search software for comprehensive research and analytics, and learn how to improve your patent search experience.