A patent search, or patentability search, is a search of existing patents and other publicly-available documents (which is referred to as “prior art”) to locate the closest existing prior art to your inventive concept. The purpose of a patent search is to determine how different your inventive concept is from what is already known in the prior art.
A patent application is examined by the U.S. Patent Office by comparing the claimed invention with the prior art, and a patent can be issued if the Office is convinced that the claimed invention is new and not an obvious combination of features in the prior art.
When we perform a patent search, we analyze the prior art in comparison with your inventive concept and draft a memorandum which summarizes the most relevant items in the prior art and also provide an opinion as to whether your inventive concept appears to be patentable, and if so, what parts of the inventive concept appear to be new in comparison with the prior art.
There are many ways that a patent can be invalidated, and the purpose of the validity opinion, or enforceability opinion, is to identify whether there are any strong arguments for invalidating a specific patent. A validity opinion, or enforceability opinion, comes into play once you have determined that you might be infringing someone else’s patent. This opinion involves reviewing the full USPTO file history of the patent that is being investigated, as well as reviewing the content of any prior art cited against that patent by the U.S. Patent Office. In an effort to locate arguments for invalidating a patent, a separate patentability search can be done to possibly locate prior art that was never found and considered by the U.S. Patent Office before the patent was issued.
An infringement opinion is an analysis to see if a specific product or process infringes a patent. This opinion can go hand-in-hand with a validity opinion, but the purpose of an infringement opinion is to take a very close look at the claims in the patent and see if the product or process infringes any of the claims. An entire patent is considered to be infringed if just a single claim is infringed.