December 16, 2014

Custom study & consulting

Our tailor-made analysis is based on your area of interest. The scope of the study is defined with you to meet your needs and budgetary/time constraints. 

Patentability search

A patentability search (otherwise known as novelty search) is usually performed prior to filing a patent application or during the invention’s development stage to determine whether an invention is novel and is indeed eligible for patent protection, and how broadly the claims for the invention can be written. It is a prior-art search used to uncover any references (patent and non-patent literature) which disclose the same or similar invention to the invention to be patented. A patentability search can help the inventors/attorneys draft the claims by identifying the boundaries of the known prior-art references. This is the best way to avoid paying out for an unsuccessful patent application.

Patent invalidity search

A patent invalidity search is usually performed to invalidate the claims of a competitor’s patent. This is typically one of the initial steps taken by a company for its defense preparation against a patent infringement allegation. It enables you to defend infringement suits and gain your freedom to operate. A patent invalidity search is an extensive prior art search that is conducted to find significant prior art that might have been previously missed by the patent examiner. Prior art includes any references (patents, scientific publications, documents, data sheets, marketing materials, products, etc.) that have been disclosed to the public about an invention before a patent filing date. A patent invalidity/validity search may also be conducted to assist with investigating the strength of a patent while exploring potential licensing opportunities.

Freedom-to-operate search (FTO)

A patent provides a right to exclude others from making, using or selling the claimed invention in the specified jurisdiction. A freedom-to-operate search (otherwise known as clearance search) is conducted to determine whether a product or process is likely to infringe upon any active patents
(i.e., issued patents or pending patent applications) in specific countries or jurisdictions. A careful comparison is performed between existing patents and the product/process’ features to verify whether the technical characteristics of the product/process are covered by patent claims. Finally, an FTO search reveals whether a product or process can be manufactured, sold, imported or used in specific countries without infringing upon any third-party IP rights.

A freedom-to-operate search is typically carried out early in the product or process development cycle. It reduces the risk of costly and time-consuming future litigation and avoids unnecessary costs and wasted resource allocation. It can provide confidence and reassurance to potential investors or shareholders, especially for start-ups. An FTO search may also help companies spot opportunities to license existing technology.

Evidence-of-use search (EoU)

An evidence-of-use search (otherwise known as a patent infringement search or patent-to-product mapping) is performed to help a patent owner identify the existing products or processes in the market that potentially infringe upon their patent(s), so the patent owner can take necessary action against the infringer(s) by enforcing their patent rights.

The link between a patent’s claims and the product features is made by teardown of the product (also known as reverse engineering), text/pictures from technical documentation and product marketing materials, etc. A convincing claim chart (or claim map) is produced, to make evidence that the technical characteristics of the product/process are covered by the patent(s).

An evidence-of-use search is essential for any patent enforcement or licensing campaign, as it shows how patented technology has been infringed upon by a product, in an easy-to-understand and
difficult-to-refute format. An EoU report forms the basis for any patent monetization campaign and helps evaluate and negotiate patent infringement disputes.

Patent landscape analysis

Patent landscaping consists in analyzing patenting activity and trends in a field of technology, globally or in a specific geographical area, turning complex patent information into actionable insights through visual elements that make data easier to understand. It is undoubtedly a useful instrument for decision makers working in R&D, innovation strategy, intellectual property, and marketing. A patent landscape analysis helps you understand the competitive environment, follow technological evolutions, and find out opportunities and risks in terms of technology and patents. It allows you to identify players’ R&D and IP strategies, understand where industry leaders, newcomers and start-ups are focused, and give an early view into the strategies they are pursuing and the technologies in which they are investing. Patent landscape analysis adds an entirely new dimension to competitive intelligence and perfectly complements market research.

Read more on our key product: Patent landscape definition.

Patent portfolio assessment

This patent portfolio assessment (also known as IP due diligence) is generally conducted prior to a possible transaction, partnership or M&A to assess the patents owned or used by a company. The objective of such an IP study is to reveal the quality of the targeted patent portfolio, examining the strength, scope and enforceability of the patents, identifying the most valuable patents, providing the SWOT matrix and the IP position of the company. Such IP due diligence is critical to deciding whether to purchase or invest in a company or enter into agreement when the IP is a key factor.

A patent landscape analysis can be provided, positioning the patent portfolio in its IP competitive environment, and comparing it to the competitors’ related patent portfolio. A freedom-to-operate search can be performed to identify third-party patents which may impact the company’s business. Some recommendations can be provided concerning management of the patent portfolio and its optimization (patents to exploit, sell or abandon, patents to file or acquired to reinforce the portfolio, etc.).

Scientific state-of-the-art

Scientific state-of-the-art (also known as scientific literature analysis) consists in describing the current knowledge in a field of research through analysis of the published scientific work (journal articles, conference proceedings, theses, patents, etc.). It provides a comprehensive overview of what has been done in the field, helping you understand the highest level of developments and research findings achieved as of today.

Technology scouting

Technology scouting consists in identifying, selecting and evaluating existing or developing technologies, innovations, products or services outside the company. Technology scouting also allows you to identify new suppliers, industrial or academic partners. It is an essential part of the open innovation strategy. Technology scouting aims to save R&D-driven companies from developing duplicate technologies internally, to give access to business opportunities, reduce time to market, and save money and resources.

Monitoring services

A monitoring service (also known as watch service) consists in monitoring newly published information in specific industries, market segments or technological fields, from certain players either globally or in a specific geographical area. It is a continuous process with intelligence reports, updated databases or newsletters delivered on a quarterly, monthly or weekly basis, or even in real time. Depending on the type of information being monitored (patents, scientific publications, R&D activities, market news, etc.), we talk about a technology monitor, patent monitor, scientific monitor, competitor monitor, etc.

The objective of a monitoring service is to keep a close eye on competitors, partners, clients, latest technologies, patents, scientific findings, etc. to rapidly detect weak signals, opportunities and risks in terms of technology, market, competition, intellectual property, etc.