Research can be beneficial to conduct prior to starting the preparation of patent applications. Before you apply for a patent, you may wish to attempt to determine whether there are similar patents prior to proceeding. You may also wish to check whether you can sell or market your invention without infringing on someone else’s patent. These are two similar, but different legal matters, and they are both advisable in determining sales, research, and patenting strategies. Fortunately, your IP attorneys at Garcia-Zamor are here to help you through the research and patenting process.
Let’s break down the difference between a patentability search and an infringement search:
What Is a Patentability Search?
The goal of a patentability search is to determine what aspects of an invention may be eligible for patent protection. Of course to be granted a patent, the invention needs to qualify as patentable subject matter, be new, and also be non-obvious in view of prior patents and publications.
A patentability search researches public documents, including patents and pending patents, that document inventions which may be related to to the one you plan to patent. This is sometimes called a novelty search, as the goal is to determine which aspects of an invention may be patentable before you apply for a patent.
What Is an Infringement Search?
The goal of an infringement search is to determine whether or not your invention would infringe on the patents of others. This may sound similar to a patentability search, but there are some distinct differences.
While a patentability search should be done before your application, an infringement search can be done at any point before the product launch. It takes into account things like the manufacturing processes that could infringe on existing patents. An infringement search only examines non-expired patents owned by third parties to attempt to determine the scope of patent rights of third parties. It is sometimes called a freedom-to-operate (FTO) search.
How Can an IP Attorney Help?
These searches are extensive and it can take up a significant amount of time to do them on your own. Plus, it can be frustrating if you miss something in your search and all of those hours spent poring over documents and patents goes to waste. This is where an IP attorney can help.
At Garcia-Zamor, we’ll do your patentability and infringement searches for you. We have the resources to help as well as over two decades of combined experience in the world of intellectual property law. Once we’ve done the search, we will provide our opinion on the patentability of your invention, as well as any issues that may come up with operating that invention. We will even help you apply for a patent and know what to expect from the process.
Need to patent a new invention? Take care to make sure it is something you can actually produce, with help from Garcia-Zamor. Contact us today to learn more.