Special Searches - FTO, Validity, State of the Art, Company/Inventor Profiles
You can count on a thorough search of your inventions by drawing on our patent examining experience. In addition to protecting your own invention, patents are useful for a variety of other purposes. One use is to find out what other people have done to solve a particular problem. Remember that each patent represents a solution to a problem, and there are more than eight million U.S. patents. If you find a patent that is the solution you need, contact the inventor or assignee and you may have your solution!
If the patents do not have a solution you need, they may be very useful in getting you started. They may teach you about what others have tried and may help you avoid problems you might not have thought of. If you then come up with your own solution, your solution is very likely to be patentable.
Using patents to help with problems is usually done in one of two ways, depending upon the project and your own experience. One way is through a "state-of-the-art" patent search, which provides a collection of patents or abstracts that lay out other peoples' solutions to the problem at hand. Another way to use the patents is through an on-going periodical patent abstract delivery, that each month includes abstracts and drawings of patents granted in your area of interest. Regardless of your area of interest, a collection of abstracts can be assembled to give you a quick snap-shot that meets your needs.
Patents are also used to keep track of the competition. They are particularly useful for monitoring the strategic direction of larger companies that have several patents issuing each year. By sorting a company's patents according to technology, the investment and strategic direction of the company are often revealed.
Analyzing a company for investment or acquisition purposes, especially a start-up company that claims they own an important new technology, also requires analysis of patents. Just knowing a company has several patents does not ensure that the patents are broad enough to allow the company to control the technology.
Because of our resources and talents in patent searching, we are often asked by our corporate and venture-capital clients to conduct searches on already-granted patents, to double-check the work of the patent examiner or to advise our clients of ptential risks or opportunities.