Patent Validity Search, Invalidity Search, Validity Opinion and Invalidity Opinion: What’s the Difference?
By Miguel Taveras, Patent Division Director
Even among patent professionals you’ll often hear patent validity and invalidity terms mixed up. Have you ever wondered what’s the difference?
In a perfect world patent validity and invalidity searches, opinions and research wouldn’t be necessary but patent offices around the world sometimes make mistakes when granting patents.
Sometimes for this very reason a person or company issued a patent will hire a patent research and consulting company such as Noro IP to perform an independent search to ensure that the patent they have been issued is in fact valid. The research aspect of this makes up the patent validity search and the actual determination of validity would be the patent validity opinion aspect. Sometimes the company performing these two features is not one in the same. A law firm might render the patent validity opinion, but might hire a company such as Noro IP that specializes in patent searching to perform the patent validity search and then render the opinion based on the results of the patent research.
More often a company wants to prove that a competitors patent should not have been issued. This might be because the competitor is claiming they are infringing on their patent. Rather than pay yearly licensing fees throughout the duration of the patent life cycle it could potentially be more cost effect to prove that the patent is invalid. Once again the research aspect is the patent invalidity search and the determination of invalidity is the patent invalidity opinion.
It is of course possible that the end result in these cases is not what a client is initially seeking. While trying to prove that a patent is valid it is possible to uncover prior art that shows a patent is invalid. However, determining that a patent is valid while performing an invalidity patent search is a more complicated matter. To truly prove this a patent analyst would need to look at every single piece of prior art… in the world! This of course is an impossible thing to do, so to get an adequate sense that the researcher has unturned every reasonable stone, a through search history should be presented that shows a search through all related classification areas and text searches using keywords and synonyms relevant to the claimed invention. In addition the patent invalidity search history should show a search through US and foreign patents, pertinent journals, significant magazines and other important non-patent literature databases.
Should you need any assistance with patent valid or invalidity research contact Noro IP!
Click the video below to find out more about patent validity and invalidity searches.
June 24, 2011
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