How to Search a Patent Idea To Match Company Needs

May 11, 2020

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Patent searches provide value beyond their use in patent prosecution—they tell stories of business and innovation, both past and future. When properly tailored to a specific need, the stories told by patent search results help companies and professionals to: gain a better understanding of the state of technology, identify and anticipate competitor actions, and analyze industry trends. Below are our top suggestions on how to search a patent idea to match your company’s needs.

Patent Landscape Search

One of the best ways to track trends in innovation is through patent landscaping. A patent landscape search pulls together information about a specific technology, industry or geographic region, and provides insights that help identify business opportunities, inform market research and determine business strategies. Patent landscapes can even help shape innovation by revealing “white space” (i.e., areas that are largely free of patented inventions) where companies can direct their research and development efforts without worrying about licensing rights from patent holders or infringing on existing patents.

The LexisNexis TotalPatent One® patent search platform gives users access to more than 1 million patent documents from more than 100 patent authorities and allows them to search patent office databases all over the world. Users can also search by technology classifications (e.g., Cooperative Patent Classification―CPC, International Patent Classification―IPC, etc.) or filter search results by technology classifications to obtain on-point patent landscape information.

The A Picture Is Worth A Thousand Patent Documents blog post provides an overview of conducting research on TotalPatent One®.

Competitive Research

Conducting research on a competitors’ current patents, pending patent applications and historical patent filings can be extremely beneficial for innovative companies. Knowing the scope of a competitor’s patent protection enables businesses to find ways to operate and innovate without infringing on their competitors’ patent rights. Additionally, the subject matter claimed in competitors’ pending patent applications hints at the direction they may be taking their business in the future—providing businesses time to adapt against their competitors’ future plans. 

TotalPatent One® offers a number of features that help businesses monitor their competitors’ patent rights and strategies. Users can search for patent documents by original, current and normalized assignee names to easily pull up competitor patent filings; search results can then be filtered by document status to parse out expired patents, active patents, pending patent applications and abandoned patent filings. TotalPatent One can even help users monitor competitor activity by alerting them when new patent documents have been added that meet user-defined search parameters.

Technological Understanding

Innovation is iterative, and inventions are often built upon previously patented methods, materials, concepts and devices. Sometimes the best way to understand a particular technology is to take a look backward in time to the inventions that made the technology possible. For anyone trying to wrap their head around a new invention, including patent professionals who need to thoroughly understand a client’s invention to draft a high-quality patent application, looking to patent documents that preceded the invention can help them comprehend the technology it is based on.

TotalPatent One assists in technological understanding by making it easy to track the lineage of a patent document. When a patent or patent application is selected within the TotalPatent One patent search platform, users are able to view patent family information as well as forward and backward document citations. Documents listed as part of a patent family or as citations are even accompanied by document links that make accessing those documents as easy as possible.

Patent searches have a wide variety of applications, and the motivations behind different types of patent searches vary greatly. Whether you are developing a patent landscape, conducting competitive research or trying to understand a new technology, the ability to know how to search a patent idea to meet a user’s needs makes TotalPatent One the perfect fit for any type of patent research.

TotalPatent One® offers one of the world’s largest and deepest collection of patent data from around the globe. Learn more or sign in.

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