People frequently seek patent protection for their inventions. Patents safeguard inventions by giving its owners the exclusive rights to produce, utilize, and commercialize their inventions (i.e. the exclusive right to profit from their invention). To be patentable, an invention must be brand-new, practical, and inventive.
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Is it Possible to Patent Ideas?
Patents could be issued for inventions that demonstrate an inventive step, do not fall under the legal category of inventions that are not patentable, and may be applied to a commercial environment. According to the decision in Hickton’s Patent Syndicate vs. Patents & Machine Improvements, if an idea or concept is new and practical, it is protected by a patent.
The Patents Act of 1970 makes no explicit reference of whether or not ideas can be patented. Since both invention and ideas originate from and are developed from concepts, they are quite similar. Therefore, an idea that is useful, distinct, novel, not evident to qualified experts, and has industrial value may be patented under the Patents Act of 1970.
If you have an idea for an invention, you should consider conducting a patent search to make sure someone else has not already invented your idea.
What is a patent search?
A patent search includes searching for previous art in the form of published patents, blog posts, journal papers, and other openly available information. You can decide whether your idea is novel, practical, and innovative and, thus, whether it qualifies for patentability by conducting a patent search. Your idea is not original and has already been invented if you discover prior art during your search that describes it. Additionally, you won’t be able to get a patent for your innovation. But if there are no prior arts found that describes your idea, you will be able to get a Patent for the innovation.
How to conduct patent search to make sure your idea is already not Patented?
The World Intellectual Property Organization (WIPO) specifies search parameters, including keywords, patent categorization, and applicant or inventor names, to help users to locate relevant patents.
Performing a search using keywords can target existing patents that are similar to your invention idea. When performing a keyword search, WIPO recommends using Boolean operators, truncation, nesting, and phrases.
WIPO advises paying close attention to synonyms and numerous languages when doing a patent search. It’s vital to look for synonyms because there are numerous names that can be used to describe technology.
Patent classification search:
Classification systems organize patent documents into different technology groups. In comparison to a straightforward keyword search, searching by patent categorization can offer a more focused and limited search. The International Patent Classification (IPC) system is an illustration of a classification scheme. This method organizes technology into about 70 000 groupings and encompasses almost all technological domains.
Applicant or inventor name search:
You can also search for patents belonging to specific individuals or companies by searching their names.
The search can be performed using below resources:
- Google Search;
- PATENTSCOPE – managed by WIPO;
- Google Patents;
- Indian Patent website;
- United States Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO);
- Canadian Patents Database – managed by the Canadian Intellectual Property Office;
- Espacenet – managed by the European Patent Office (EPO).
Benefits of Patentability Searches:
- Verifying the invention’s availability and calculating the potential range of protection.
- The outcome of a patent search has a significant impact on the extent of a patent’s protection; if prior art exists that is similar to the current invention, the scope of protection would be limited.
- The outcomes of the patentability search may serve as a starting point for calculating the applicant’s investment costs.