There are many different types of patent searches. Each type of search has a different purpose and requires a different strategy.
1. Novelty Searches
The novelty search is the most common type of patent search. Lambert Shortell & Connaughton conducts novelty searches when a client has an invention which he or she is interested in patenting and desires to determine if anyone has previously invented anything similar or identical. These searches have no date constraints on the prior art. Before expending much effort and expense toward developing an invention, certainly before applying for a patent, Lambert Shortell & Connaughton recommends that clients allow us to perform a novelty search to determine whether their idea is truly novel, has already been patented, or has been anticipated or rendered obvious.
2. Validity Searches
The idea behind a validity search is that the Patent Office may have issued the patent in error. Patent Examiners sometimes miss a relevant piece of prior art and this results in an issued patent with claims that should not have been allowed. One way to win an infringement case is to invalidate the patent in question. If a patent search can locate “prior art” that “reads on” the claims of the patent in question, those claims will be removed from the patent.
3. Infringement Searches
Infringement searches are conducted to see if a proposed product or invention “infringes” any active patents. Lambert Shortell & Connaughton recommends this in-depth search and analysis whenever the firm or the client becomes aware of an active patent containing a description similar to the client’s proposed or existing product.
4. State-of-the-art Searches
This type of search is for those clients who want us to determine what is currently being developed in a given field. During this search, our attorneys pick patents representative of a specific technology but do not cite every patent having to do with the technology.