Thursday, March 3, 2016
Spring Training Report: Prior Art and Prospects
When considering whether to field a patent application most Entrepreneurs consider having a prior art search performed. Many first time Entrepreneurs view their search as a definitive prediction as to the patentability of their idea. Yet, wise Entrepreneurs would consider these reports as more of a scouting report predicting what their prospects might be (and before Spring Training even starts).
Like all Internet searches, prior art searches are key-word-based. Thus, pertinent documents can be missed. Moreover, irrelevant findings can obscure what technology is uncovered. For instance, an incorrectly structured search can provide many “hits” in technology having little to do with the Entrepreneur’s idea. Software, due to the inconsistent use of and meaning for various terms in this industry, bears a particular susceptibility to this problem.
Additionally, the skill of the searcher affects the search results. Many of low-cost searchers dump key words into a search engine and hope for the best with no sanity checking of the results. And those key words might not have been chosen carefully. Often, indeed, the searcher merely parses a 1 paragraph or 1 page description of the idea and extracts supposed key words from it. Yet, those descriptions often focus on the advantages that the Entrepreneur believes their idea to bring to the game. In other words, these passages function more like marketing copy rather than a technical scouting report (description) of the idea.
Thus, for at least these reasons, prior art searches can provide misleading results much like a team's Spring Training record. But, even when performed by a skilled searcher, a key-word based prior art search will only survey the field. Entrepreneurs who have had a search performed should pass the results to a qualified Patent Attorney before committing to their regular season roster (i.e., drafting strategy for their patent application).
We at the Villhard Patent Group would welcome the opportunity to strategize with you about your potential patent applications. To obtain more information about us please see www.villhardpatents or call us at 512-897-0399. We look forward to hearing from you.