Patent Databases and Information Systems

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Introduction

Patent information systems help to maintain a comprehensive collection of Patent-related information, including the technical information of various Patent users in several fields such as government, organisations, industries, or business. The Patent Act 1970 reveals the function of Patent System and how they were offered to various institutions as information services. 

The Patent activity has been observed as the most frequently occurring one in terms of IP related work. Several companies and countries are adopting the technological field as the easiest way of doing things. The conventional Patent analysis has commonly focused on factual information even though Patent Information Systems are predominately used for various decisions on R&D related investments. 

There have been several instances of Patent Infringement struggles and settlements,even in many large MNCs and profit makers. Nevertheless, these struggles and battles have not shaken the Patent world, and yet large corporations to small industries invest in large scale for invention and Patenting. 

Influence of Patent in business organisations:

As Intellectual Property – IP is an intangible asset that fetches large benefits to the company and its product development, many factors like size, the maturity of the business, technological advancement, market environment and employee engagement etc seemed to influence IP and the inventions. 

The small technological companies,like Start-ups, face various challenges, including cost and market challenges and are unable to exploitingthe above factors to encourage inventions and Patenting irrespective of the cost challenges.

These companies use these Patent Data or the Patent Information Systems largely for technological and business advancement. These Patent data are used for strategic planning purposes such as competitor analysis, R&D portfolio management, options of mergers and acquisitions, and even employee motivation and development.

To build and sustain the growth of the business, these companies use Patent Information frequently to evaluate and institutionalise foolproof decision making process at various level of business. The business may have challenges in terms of mining, organising, and interpreting the information to an actionable basis, and the same technology can be used to extract that knowledge. 

Review The Patent grant of Business

The Patent Portfolio Audit as it is called is a process by which the organisation reviews the patent granted or on the application filed for Patent or a Patent being granted by the Patent Office including the licenses, all that information recorded in Patent Information Database and by auditing the same. 

By this, the business houses alsoget the chance to change or review their Patents Portfolios for a better market study and to take actions for better business growth.  The audit process starts with checking and verifying the complete inventory, including the organisational information in order to understand the business-oriented factors that lead to the filing of a Patent or the patent owned or licensed Patents by the organisation. This indeed helps to have a fundamental development of the business Patent assets. Following are a few objectives of auditing:

The business strategy should be aligned with that of the Patent Portfolio Strategy (one can focus on specific objective or subset of these: 

  1. Validate the basic information with regards to patent 
  2. Review all the Patented applications and in progress ones 
  3. Research the Patent Information System 
  4. Record and catalogue, categorise the Patent License Agreement including  royalty, document analysis, trade risks, associated agreements, litigations and disputes etc
  5. The Patent Strategy aligned with corporate/organisation strategy (identify the current and future products and services of the organisation and what all functionalities arepatented as specific ones,  and how can they block competition and also geographical patent information and regulations.

Making sure the additional research is conducted to validate the technical analysis and market assessment 

  1. Identifying the areas where additional Patent rights need to be obtained for focused R&D  
  2. Assess the merger and acquisition or JV opportunities to a better position (it can leverage the portfolio)
  3. Accessing the open software and hardware that can impact the use of IP 
  4. Accessing the related industries and their market focus on products and services. 

The business if associated with any previous litigation or dispute or analysis or research etc, collect all those documents, including the information related to International Patent enforcements and dispute institutions. By establishing a strong plan for review of  Patent Portfolio and its management, it helps in identifying and removing errors arising out of agreement related to any independent contractors, employees, confidentiality, and non-disclosure agreements, the assignments onboarding and exit procedures etc. 

The main moto of any business is to attract the investors and stakeholders and identification of their interests. These interests are to be included as part of the Patent Portfolio through the periodic alignment of strategies and proactive management coupled with a fool-proof execution strategy. 

If any partnering is needed to access third-party technology the Patent Portfolio may assist in credibility and leadership and provides a space for negotiation to deal with any such contract and licensing and further collaboration. For all these the small venture companies and start-ups require funding for which Patent Portfolio will help in financial support.

The no: of mergers and acquisitions (M&A) has increased in the recent past in the corporate world, and many such mergers have resulted in gaining more technical advantage and long term strategic vision of the company. In such deals, technology ownership plays a pivotal role in capturing the business markets, for which need more R&D and even technology patents.   The important success factors of these mergers & acquisitions is dependent on right selection of targets aligned to the organisational goals. Analysis of Patent helps the organisation in identification of right target in the overall process of mergers & acquisition.

The companies that aims for M&A, mainly have two important strategies: 

  1. Accessing the technology is the prime motive –

The M&A identifies the retrieval of data using the technology and group the targets depending on the R&D and analyse the technology of acquiring company, by understanding the patenting indicators and the technological synergies. 

If the companies want to acquire different modes of acquisition follow a pattern of management, they should select the target acquisition which can help in the decision support. 

  1. Access the targets and acquirers bind portfolio  

The acquisition company aims to ensure optimal management of the acquired firm and analyse its technological position and explores the option of the areas where individual or combined Patent portfolio can be managed based on the data analysis. 

With the help of R&D, the Patent data of the company getting merged or acquired is carried out within the potential target which includes the basic nature and feature based on the need of the firm where it can stand out as a promising target.

Guiding the R&D Research and Human Resource Management

The technological advancement has strengthened competitiveness leading to a substantial increase of R&D investments in the organisation. In today’s world, innovation and R&D leads the strategic vision of the company and influences the plan and execution in development and marketing of products and services of the company. The relevant and important sections of the R&D are stored safely and that can help in the transfer of external sources to the firm through a license, M&A, HR, etc. Patents also support the technology advancement in all areas of use, including internal and external of the firm. 

Hence, Patent information has two major functions:

  • Patent investors are protected at least for the internal management (although it can be used externally)
  • It also contains information regarding technology management – these can be used in various fields of business.

The new Patent information received has a high opportunity to systematically drive the data on a large scale, which is examined and eventually granted by the Patent Office. The quality indicators of patent used in studies to determine the Patenting company and performance are being used for citation or scope of Patents.

Patents information are used for three important ways of technology:

  • Helps to analyse the competitive potential of technologies 
  • It can be identified and provide access options for the external generation of technology knowledge 
  • Store the relevant knowledge for human resource management.

These three important functions are a set of indicators to analyse the companies patenting strategies and their Patent Portfolio. The legal evaluation is not intended by this procedure which focuses entirely on the economic aspect of the management. The value of the Patent information is greatly enhanced by the quality of the patents is considered.  The quality of the patent will determine the overall Patent strength, which can be calculated and helps to derive better technological aspects. This demonstrates the competitive position of the firm, which helps the core element of balanced scorecards.

“It has been repeatedly shown that a small number of highly prolific inventors drive technological development and a much larger number of researchers produce only one or two patents in any laboratory or company. Patent analysis, such as a co‐inventor brain map, can show the key inventors who are vitally important for the future of the company. Such brain maps can identify not only star inventors within a company, but also key inventors in other companies, which is a useful analysis for headhunting and in developing an effective M&A strategy

Patent Search

There are various types of Patent-related searches, for eg, the Patentability Search before filing a patent is one among them. Patentability Search is particularly important as this search relates to the organised review from various public sources in the international platforms. It determines the potential investment of the prior art. This search can help in the following ways: 

  • It can speed up the prosecution 
  • It saves the overall cost and time limitations 
  • It can help in indicating a before-existing technology and notify the same 
  • This will be done by the examiner and comment on the novelty of the patent art made.

The patent search is valid even after the granting of the patent who wants to check the validity and defend their patent to indicate that this is the original work of the owner and saved by an amendment in the application. The various types of Patent Search are given below:

  1. State of the Art Research: This type of patent research as the name suggests overall view so that the company can start establishing a new invention or even for the future invention it gives an overview of the defined technological field and covers the patent range, it reveals if any publications like paper studies or even nonliterature expired and non-expired patents, published and non-published patents. 
  2. Patentability Search: This is mainly done before applying to the patent office and decide whether one wants to give their invention as a patent right and these are very useful for the stronger drafting of the patent application as there can be a conflict of interest with patents of other parties. 
  3. Infringement Search: This is most used Patent search, as it deals with one’s idea or work being infringed i.e the right to operate or use the product on the market is under halt because of the claim in the unexpired patent. Conducing the research at the technical development of the product will reduce the chances of infringing one’s right and make the product available for the market and get the legal status. 
  4. Validity Search:The validity of the patent is accessed after the patent has been granted and done well in the prosecution of the litigation in the context of license and negotiations are done. These are most referred to as the due diligence process so as to know the quality and value of the patentincase, if one wants to challenge the patent validity and to challenge the novelty of the patent. 
  5. Name Search: This search is done to find out the inventor, or owner on whom the patent has been filed or it even called as Patent Family Search. This search is carried out to locate the inventor so that it helps to analyse the products and markets of the Patent Owner /inventor and their companies and activities. 

Now that it is clear how the Patent Search – whether to search after or before filing, the method to search the Patent information which clarifies the objective of the company through the Patent Database. One can use any of the following method for Patent Searches.

  1. CD-ROM- the database will be very convenient to access and users do not need the connections. 
  2. Online database – connect through the internet through the webpage of the patent respective offices or agents.
  3. Service Charges
  • State of Art Search………………….. Rs. 2000+Rs. 20 per abstract of patent reported 
  • Bibliographic Search …………………Rs. 500 + Rs. 5 /- per document reported 
  • English Equivalent patent Search…….. Rs. 50 /- for locating one English language
  • equivalent patent
  • Equivalent Family Patent Search……… Rs. 50/- per family member 
  • Assisted Search………………………….Rs. 250/- per hour of the facilities used 
  • Patent Copy Supply Service (Indian Patents)
  • Xerox copy of Indian Patent………………Rs. 30 + 4 per page 
  • Patent Copy Supply Service (Foreign Patents) 
  • Copy of Foreign Patent available-in-house……Rs. 300 /- per Patent Foreign Patents not available in-house are procured from WIPO @  Rs. 30/- per patent 
  • Copy of Abstract/Claim Copy of abstract/main claim of Patent……Rs. 25/- per abstract/main claim 33

Conclusion

Thus, the patent Information database plays a vital role for researchers and organisations not only for solving their problems, but also helps to harness technological advancement information. There are more than 180 Patent Offices in the world, Patent Information Database serves as a nervous system for the researchers of developing countries and the business houses throughout the world. 

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