When it comes to filing a patent application, most patent practitioners will advise clients to conduct a prior art search. What constitutes prior art, though? While issued patents and pending patent applications make up a large contingent of prior art, don’t forget about non-patent literature. Let’s face it: patents aren’t cheap. With the massive cost of litigation, not to mention R&D and patent filing costs, searching non-patent literature early on in the innovation lifecycle (as seen in the image below) can help with establishing an invention’s novelty and, ultimately, determining whether it’s worth it to file a patent application.
Start the innovation process looking at the full picture
Non-patent literature can take the form of:
- Scientific articles
- Conference abstracts
- Published disclosures
- Technical standards
Ignore non-patent literature at your peril. An invention cannot be patented if it exists already and has been publicly disclosed. Searching non-patent literature is a great way to unearth inventions that haven’t been patented. Searches for non-patent literature are also indispensable when answering critical IP questions. Whether you are conducting initial research on an innovative topic, want to discover whether your invention can be patented, or need evidence of patent invalidation: in all of these cases, non-patent literature is equally as valuable as existing patents.
A study commissioned by IEEE in 2018 identified the top 30 companies with the most patents in the United States. In 2017, these companies had 75,102 issued patents, containing 535,999 non-patent literature references. In 2010, they had 58,179 patents and only 239,789 non-patent references. Non-patent literature citations doubled! This shows that incorporating non-patent literature in your IP searches is becoming more and more critical.
Scientific articles, conference abstracts, technical standards, and other non-patent literature contain a wealth of important data, but the sheer number of documents is staggering. Time constraints and disparate applications make conducting comprehensive searches quite difficult.
Our presentation, The Importance of Non-Patent Literature in IP Searches, breaks down the value of non-patent literature and discusses:
- Incorporating non-patent literature to improve prior art searches
- Uncovering new strategic opportunities for your business with non-patent literature
- Using non-patent literature to keep an eye on key competitors
- Revealing efficient strategies for searching non-patent literature
Did you know that 55% of non-patent literature citations in USPTO patents and 64% of the citations in EPO patents come from scientific journals? Wouldn’t it be helpful to have a resource to help you find all these citations? InnovationQ Plus can be that resource.
The Importance of Non-Patent Literature in IP Searches slideshow will show you why a tool like InnovationQ Plus can help you go beyond patents and search for full-text non-patent literature. Problem solved!
Source: 1790 Analytics LLC. Analysis of US Patent Referencing to IEEE Papers, Conferences, and Standards 1997-2017.