Patent Searches

I thought I would touch on a couple take aways that I have found while doing a patent search regarding my startups upcoming product. Please feel free to comment and add anything that you find more important or if I’ve missed anything crucial (which is quite likely). 

The first couple basics to take note of, and when I say take note of, I mean actually write down and record in an excel sheet or word document are: 

Patent #: (country where its from #) example: US 2012/02020202

Inventor(s) Name – I like to just put the first name that is listed as that is usually the primary person on the patent but adjust according to your preference

Assignee – company/foundation/university 

Patent Date – I have seen references that say that the file date is important as well, but have yet to see why this is pertinent

Related patents – usually provisional patents, or earlier iterations of this design/invention that is drastically different from this design is important to look at just for your knowledge as well as help you further understand the progression of this invention. 

Invention title – self-explanatory

Abstract – I like to use this as it gives me a brief summary for my records. I don’t usually write the whole abstract but I take bits and pieces that are important in understanding the overall device. 

Invention Description – I use this as a space to describe what I have gleaned from the overall patent information. Mostly description of important claims made and important milestones met for the invention. 

Invention Category – This is a nifty location to put in some key phrases to categorize the patent. I find this helpful as it makes me figure out and think about where this invention fits within the space that I am looking. 

Software (y/n) – If it is a piece of software, I like to just make note of that because then there are some special considerations to be made regarding its documentation such as platforms made for/standalone?/licensed/sourced/object/executable form etc. 

Lastly, I like to put down in my own words how this patent fits into the industry it is invented for as well as any disadvantages and limitations it may have purposefully listed or are not listed but I can criticize from my own knowledge and understanding of the marketplace. And if there are any listed companies within the patent either as suppliers for parts or end customers I record those just so that I know where products are being sourced from and where they are going to if possible. 

Hope this helps if you are in need of some guidance in this area. Like I said earlier, if you have any more suggestions please comment as I do not consider this a perfect list and would like to improve it myself if possible. 

Cheers,

Sam

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3 thoughts on “Patent Searches

  1. Interesting notes Sam. A couple thoughts:

    1. Date – probably goes without saying, but here’s why I think the patent file date is important:

    Patent expiry date = patent file date + 14 years
    Patent expiry date = the point when the right to use the patented invention becomes free -> major consideration for cost projections.

    So I guess this is only important if that file date is 10-12 years ago, because you can foresee sometime soon when you wouldn’t have to pay for that right anymore -> important consideration for short- to mid-term cost projections.

    2. Writing in your own words.

    I like that in the “Invention Description” and “Industry Fit” categories, you write things out the way you understand them. This gives you a written account of what YOU think – a hypothesis. If you then talk it over with a trusted advisor who understands your industry, then they will probably have a different perspective that will flesh out your understanding of what the invention can do, and where it fits in the market.

    From personal experience, this method of clearly stating my understanding of things, and then getting feedback from someone smarter than me, is a powerful learning method. It can be embarrassing, because sometimes you are dead wrong. But in those cases the sting of embarrassment means you never forget the lesson 🙂

    • I’m learning more and more that the best way to become smarter yourself is to have your mistakes pointed out by people smarter than yourself. Definetly agree with this Davey!

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