Updated on: Dec 10th, 2021
7 min read
The government gives a patent to an inventor for his/her invention. The patent grants the inventor an exclusive right over the process or product of the invention. The invention should provide a new way of doing something, be a new innovation, or offer a technical solution to an existing problem to be patented.
The patent authorises and allows the inventor to exclude others from selling, creating or using the invention till the patent is valid. The inventor has to apply to the patent office to obtain a patent in India. The Controller General of Patents, Designs and Trademarks (Controller) will grant a patent for a product or process of an invention. The invention needs to have industrial application, be novel and not extend an existing invention.
The process to get a patent takes around two years in India. The controller will grant the patent for 20 years. However, before applying for a patent, the inventor must conduct a patent search to prevent the rejection of the patent application.
A patent search is a search of the existing patents and other available documents in the public domain to find out the nearest existing information of the proposed invention before filing the patent application. The patent search before filing the patent application is known as patentability. The search is conducted in the patent databases and amongst the available literature. The existing patent literature and other available documents are known as prior art.
The patent search or patentability increases the chances of getting a patent. An inventor will know if a similar product or process patent exists. If a similar product or process patent exists, the patent application will be rejected. Therefore, an inventor must conduct a patent or prior art search.
An inventor will get a clear idea of the invention’s patentability, i.e. whether there are chances of getting the patent for his/her invention, strength and weaknesses of the invention through the patent search. A patent search deals with investigation, data mining and research.
The patent search gives an idea to the inventor of the information available in the public domain relating to the proposed invention. It will help to compare and identify a relevant or similar patent, non-patent document or prior art and decide about the patentability of the proposed invention. It will help to know the differentiating features of the invention compared to other prior arts. It will help the applicant draft specifications and claims that do not overlap with any prior arts disclosing a similar invention.
After filing the patent application, the controller will do a patent examination. The controller will evaluate the proposed invention, mainly on its novelty, industrial application and inventive step. A patent search will help understand the closest prior art and justify or defend any objections raised by the controller during the examination.
The patent search helps to recognise the weakness or intensity of the present invention by understanding the literature existing in the same area of invention. It helps to draft a better patent application and determine whether to continue with application filing or not.
Since the patent search will help disclose similar patented inventions, the inventor can refine the invention or create new ideas to make it patentable by reading the prior art literature. It helps to modify the patent idea and increases the chance of getting the patent for the invention.
The patent search saves the time and money of the applicant as he/she will get to know if the invention is really a new one or it already exists in the public domain. It can also provide details of certain companies keen to get patents related to the applicant’s invention. The applicant can contact such companies to license the invention.
The patent search process or patentability search can be done by searching the already-published or granted patents. The patentability in India can be done on the official ipindia website. The inventor has to enter keywords in the below categories to do the patent search:
All the above categories have a drop-down box from which the inventor can enter and change them. A search box is available next to every category where the inventor can enter the keyword of the patent that he/she wants to view. The inventor/applicant can run an exact patent search by entering the appropriate keyword.
An inventor can do a preliminary search of their invention on the official ipindia website. However, patent searches require the use of keyword searching that requires experience. The result and accuracy of the keyword search will vary with the experience of the searcher. A patent search expert is more likely to get prior information than the inventor and do it quickly. Thus, it is always better to consult an expert for doing a patent search.
An online patent search only provides good results when high-grade keywords are used. The best keywords will save the time of searching irrelevant patents. Understanding the claims of a patent is significant as it helps determine the degree of similarity between the proposed patent inventor and the existing patent invention. An expert will understand the importance of the patent’s claims and help build on the strength of the patent.
Further, a patent search expert will help to frame the patent application in such a way that reduces the chances of its rejection. Their advice will help the inventor understand how their invention differs from a similar patented inventor. It will save a lot of time and money for the inventor. Thus, it is better to appoint an expert to do the patent search and help to draft the patent application.
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I am an advocate by profession and have a keen interest in writing. I write articles in various categories, from legal, business, personal finance, and investments to government schemes. I put words in a simplified manner and write easy-to-understand articles. Read more
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