Patent Searching DIY
Whether you’re wanting to know if your invention is novel, check out a competitor’s activities, perform an IP landscape analysis, or simply find that elusive patent you know is out there, you’ll need to be able to interrogate the patent literature. With more than 70 million patent documents published around the globe, and 2 million added annually, this can be a daunting task. Often we turn to professional search companies who use experienced searchers and commercial databases to extract the information for us; while there is little doubt that such companies do a great job, professional searches can be costly both in terms of your time instructing the company and in the price.
Fortunately, there is much you can do for free on publicly available databases such as WIPO’s PATENTSCOPE, the EPO’s ESPACENET, the USPTO’s Patent database and the LENS Patent Search and Analysis tool. These search engines and databases all come with explanatory tutorials and technical support. I would recommend WIPO’s distance learning course Patent Information Search which is a well structured, mentored programme covering the gamut of publicly available patent databases. However, if you can’t commit the 120 hours needed for this programme, then WIPO runs a series of free 1 hour webinars on searching with PATENTSCOPE. This is a really powerful search tool, allowing key word and concept searching in a wide range of languages as well as chemical structure searching.
If this sounds interesting, you can sign up for WIPO’s next free webinar PATENTSCOPE: Retrospective on 2020 and plans for 2021 on 8th or 10th December. It could be time well spent.