Depending on your needs, Beem provides several types of searches related to U.S. issued patents and published patent applications.
The first three types of Searches described below are most often conducted prior to a patent application, to identify “prior art” that is potentially relevant to the invention.
Collection Search – “State of the Art” Search
Many first-time inventors contact us with a concept that they believe may be a patentable invention. Collection searches are valuable when inventors have not yet created working prototypes and the invention may not be fully defined. These searches are designed to quickly allow someone to see what is currently being developed in a given field, and to provide a collection of patents and published applications representative of a specific technology or similar to the inventors’ concepts.
Beem patent attorneys provide a novelty search prior to beginning a patent application, to identify patents or published applications that are potentially relevant to the invention in light of the requirement for novelty of the invention. A novelty search helps an inventor determine if the invention is “new” (the subject matter sought to be patented is not shown by the prior art, and involves one or more differences over the most nearly similar invention already known) before committing the resources necessary to obtain a patent.
A patentability search may be more complex than a novelty search and may include analysis into the non-obviousness of the invention, another requirement for patentability of an invention. Thus, the subject matter sought to be patented not only must be sufficiently different from what has been used or described before, but it must be non-obvious to a person having ordinary skill in the area of technology related to the invention.
A validity search is a prior art search done after a patent issues to invalidate the patent. Validity (or invalidity) search is used to find prior art that was overlooked during prosecution of the patent application, so that a patent can be declared invalid. This might be used by an entity accused of or concerned with potentially infringing the patent, or it might be used by a patent owner or other entity that has a financial stake in a patent to confirm the validity of a patent.
Clearance Search – “Right-to-Use Search” or “Freedom-to-Operate Search”
A clearance search is a prior art search done of issued patents to see if a given product or process violates someone else’s existing patent. This might be used by an entity concerned with potentially infringing an existing patent with their product. If there is potential for infringement, then a validity search may be done to try and find prior art that would invalidate the patent.