IPR-Patent Search & Patent Databases

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IPR- Patent Search & Patent Databases

Intellectual property(IP) is a form of[1]encompasses intangible intellectual creations. There are many types of intellectual property. The most well-known categories include copyrights, patents, trademarks, and trade secrets. During the 17th and 18th centuries in England, the modern idea of intellectual property emerged. While the word "intellectual property" was coined in the nineteenth century, it was not until the late twentieth century that it became widely accepted in the majority of the world's legal systems.

Intellectual property law's main goal is to promote the development of a wide range of intellectual products. To do this, the legislation grants individuals and companies property rights to the knowledge and intellectual property they produce, typically for a limited time. This offers a financial opportunity for their production because it helps people to benefit from the knowledge and intellectual property they create.

When opposed to conventional property such as land or commodities, intellectual property's intangible existence poses challenges. Unlike traditional property, intellectual property is "indivisible," meaning that an intellectual good can be "consumed" by an infinite number of people without depletion. Furthermore, investments in intellectual property face appropriation issues: while a landowner can erect a sturdy fence and employ armed guards to protect their property, a manufacturer of knowledge or literature can typically do little to prevent their first buyer from replicating it and reselling it at a lower price. The primary emphasis of modern intellectual property law is balancing rights so that they are secure enough to promote the production of intellectual products but not so strong that they prohibit their widespread use.

A patent search typically deals with search/ research/ data mining which involve patents in one way or the other, either directly or indirectly. Contrary to a myth, patent searchers don’t just involve searching patents, but also comprise scouting of non-patent and legal literature searches which are linked to certain patent oriented projects.

Patent searching is a key tool for organizations across the globe, which is now increasingly sensitive to innovation as a parameter to success and growth. To keep an upper edge, an organization evolves its road map on multiple factors where patent searching is used as a strategic tool to provide strategic inputs, thereby making patent searching itself as one end of the strategy.


Keyword searches, classification searches, structure searches, sequence searches, and image searches are examples of patent searches.

Keyword Searches:Use of concepts and terms related to the invention or domain of interest by inserting text characters as search terms. Using alternate words such as synonyms, spelling variations, and acronyms may also assist in the discovery of records in the same technology field. This is the most frequently used and simple patent search type.

Classification Searches:Specific codes have been adopted to categorize different technical areas which are used to categorize patent documents. Patent documents are categorized as per the subject matter of claims. Classification search helps in identifying patents to a specific technical area. This search is particularly helpful to uncover patents not having specific keywords used in searches but belonging to the specific technology relating to the missing keywords. Typical classification systems are International Patent Classification (IPC), United States Patent Classification (USPC), Cooperative Patent Classification (CPC), Japanese FI and F term classification. However, it is to be noted that classification search cannot be relied on as a standalone search strategy since a number of patents may be incompletely classified or misclassified with respect to the search being conducted by a searcher for a particular technical area.

Structure Searches:Chemical structures can be searched on certain databases where atom to atom and fragment to fragment indexing of chemical structures is done.

Sequence Searches:On the same lines to chemical structures, sequence searches are used for nucleotide and protein sequences.

Image Searches:Generally, not provided by major databases, certain search engines such as Google allow image to image mapping search algorithm which is helpful in identifying similar images.

Patent Databases

It provides protection for the invention to the owner of thepatentfor a limited period which varies from country to country. ...Patentis also a property right granted to a person or legal entity (e.g., a corporation) by thePatentand Trademark Office

These web databases allow free access for everyone.

· Google Patents.

· Espacenet(European Patent Office- worldwide patents)

· Patentscope.

· Freepatentsonline.com.

· USPTOWeb Patent Databases.

It is a repository of data related to the issued patents and published applications. All the relevant data related to patents, i.e. patent number, claims, specification, review, reference etc., are collected and maintained in a patent database. The first large public patent database was launched by USPTO in November 1995. The USPTO database now contains information regarding 326,033 granted patents and 615,243 patent applications as per United States (US) Patent Statistics Chart, 2014. The database is updated weekly on every Tuesday when new patents are issued. The EPO’s ESPACENET system is the largest public database, which contains more than 90 million patent documents from 80 countries, containing information about inventions and technical developments from 1836 onwards. The commercial online patent databases appeared in the early 1980s, followed by Compact Disc-Read Only Memory (CD-ROMs) a few years later. Currently there are more than 100 free and subscription patent and patent-related databases on the World Wide Web.

Patent Databases in Indian Context

In India, the IPR related issues came into prominence after a while when global community started implementing it. As India started moving into a global trade regime, the necessity of Indian patent databases also rose into prominence. There are few relevant patent databases in Indian context. The major databases in this regard are: INPAIRS Version 2 – It is freely accessible online patent search engine maintained by Government of India to search Indian patents. The patents filed and granted in India can be accessed through INPAIRS. The database also provides information on published applications and application status. We can also access the Patent Agent Register and the Patent validity with renewal fee. The database also provides access to PCT patents using the international patent number. There is patent search engine help tool, which helps to easily access the database for patent information.

It is a commercial patent database maintained by Molecular Connections. MCPaIRS helps to search the full text of patents published in India. The data is processed by experts and is available for use through web interface. The database comprises an elegant front page with bibliographic details, application status, legal status information, etc. for all patents. The database contains patent information from 1981 and is updated weekly. It is also supported by commercial patent literature databases i.e. PatBase, Thomson Innovation, Questel Orbit, STN, SciFinder, Lexis Nexis, etc. and Non-Patent Literature databases.

Searching a Patent Database

The awareness on how to search a patent database is essential in order to get maximum information on several areas of patent search. There are different tasks for which patent search are conducted, such as:

(i) Patentability search – This is the first step in patent search in order to check whether your invention is valid, original and also to check whether there exist inventions similar to yours. Thus it would be best if we conduct patentability search before the development of the invention.

(ii) State-of-the-art search – The search is done to get information related to prior technology in particular fields. The state of the art search will help to widen scope or to conduct more effective and strategic research work.

(iii) Monitoring/legal status search – It helps to monitor the legal status of a granted patent or patent application.

(iv) Bibliographic search – The search is done to get background information on the work done in the specified area in chronological order.

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