August 30, 2016

Patent search and its importance

Patentability and other relevant searches are important for Patents. The quality and enforceability of a patent depends upon the initial search. If a search is conducted diligently, then it becomes convenient at the time of prosecution and enforcement. Hence a through search is a must before filing a patent. Also, multiple searches at different stages in the life of a patent are necessary.
  1.       Patentability/ Inventbility search
  2.       Freedom to Operate (FTO) search
  3.       Invalidity search
  4.            Infringement search
Patentability/Inventability search: This search is conducted to ensure of the subject matter of the patent is patentable or not. This is a global search. Patents, literatures, articles, journals, books and relevant documents are considered while making a patentability search. In India, Section 3 provides a list of inventions which are not patentable. This search is required at initial stages of research. Even if the inventions fulfill all the criteria of a patent, however, if the invention does not pass the patentability search then the invention cannot be patented. The main purpose of conducting this search is to ensure that the inventions are patentable or not.

Freedom to Operate (FTO) search: This search is conducted to ensure if the invention is infringing or encroaching upon someone’s patent and if there are prior arts to make the invention obvious. FTO search may also refer as right to use search. The purpose of this search is to ensure that companies avoid IP infringements prior to commercialization of any product or process. The FTO search includes a comprehensive patent search to identify and analyse un-expired patents and published patent applications that are present in the jurisdiction of interest.

Invalidity search: This search is conducted to invalidate patents of any third party.

Infringement search: This search is conducted to see if any third party is infringing one’s patent.

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