Why you should invest in a Commercial Patent Database
Patents are often early indicators of new technology, and patent searching and analytics can bring insights for any business from inception to monetization. Millions of patents are filed globally every year. 5.36 million patent applications were filed worldwide in 2018 itself, according to a search conducted on PatSeer. Patents help to understand emerging trends, how to compete in a marketplace, or quickly bring new products to market. Patent information is freely available on National and Regional patent offices and many free-of-charge patent databases.
A commercial patent search software, however, reduces the time spent on searching across different sources, gives you access to improved data coverage, quality, and translations, provides better search functionalities, helps finds meaningful relationships, gives graphical perspectives and deeper insights and generates actionable reports.
Let us look at key reasons for investing in a commercial patent database from the point of view of different stakeholders.
Innovators – For companies whose business is driven by innovation and in-house R&D, you will require regular patent research at different stages of your product lifecycle.
In the Pre-development phase, identifying existing innovations to avoid duplication of research is essential in a technology you plan on working. It would help identify gaps and give direction to your research. It will shed light on competitors and their activities, licensing opportunities, mergers, and collaboration.
The same is also true for a start-up with limited resources to invest in Intellectual property rights. As a start-up, you need to figure out if the idea you are developing is original, or incremental improvement or using a technology that might not yet be in the public domain. If you disregard this, you may not even know you have a problem before the launch of your product. Check for freedom to operate early on. Doing a patent search at the initial stage will help you decide whether to patent the idea, work around existing patents, take required licences, wait for the patent expiry, or docket the pending patent applications for regular legal status updates.
Non-Innovators include big, small to medium sized-firms or start-ups, with little or no focus on patent filing, but only applying existing technologies. E.g. – generics or biosimilars
Patent searching is no less significant if you are a non-innovator company, although the practice may be less frequent and mainly to assist in decision making.
You need to know which markets you are free to practice your product or process. It is essential to keep monitoring abandoned, expired, or lapsed patents. Expired patents, for example, are valuable for a pharmaceuticals company. As soon as an innovator drug patent has expired, a generic manufacturer can manufacture and apply for approval to sell the product. You can also find useful technologies in inactive patents to help solve problems in your product.
A landscape search will help you to look out for upcoming technologies to make products from your existing setup, find solutions to your technical problems by looking at patents in your technology domain or identify, and acquire patents that may be blocking the entry of your product/process into the market.
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