When a person is struck with – and wants to commercialise – a new idea, its constructive for them to first conduct an internet search to see if anyone else has made or done something similar. After all, any discussion of whether there is commercial value in protecting an invention requires some assessment of whether the invention is new enough to be protectable.
PATENTS CONTAIN INFORMATION YOU WON’T FIND ELSEWHERE
It might surprise you to learn that very little of the information which is relied on by Patent Offices when they examine patent applications comes from an internet search. Instead, in some areas, over 90% of the material comes from patent publications.
The main reasons why are – 1) patents often contain more detail about a product than might be placed on a website and 2) many patents describe ideas that never went anywhere. As a result, searching in patents can give you a totally different perspective on what is out there.
For example, a technology that hasn’t gone anywhere (yet) is vacuum tube transportation. Discussion of vacuum tube transportation has recently been reinvigorated by Elon Musk’s Hyperloop project but the concept itself has been around for over a century.
So it’s not surprising that if you put the search “evacuated tube transport” into Google you’ll get a first page where Hyperloop features. However, put the same search into Google patents and you’ll find a host of patents but none owned by Hyperloop on the first page (although there are some only a few clicks away). Digging deeper from both starting points should give you a richer understanding of the technology. Read more
Nick Mountford – Dynamic Business – 2 May 2017