Patent literature contains a wealth of information that can be used for a variety of purposes. Three common objectives within academia are to:
The first of these is a primary concern of inventors, and seeks to determine whether specific attributes of an idea exist in the patent or public domain. Most often, those checking for novelty are interested in both what has been disclosed by previous inventors, and what has been claimed (see Patents 101).
The second of the common objectives may be employed by researchers and inventors in order to understand the research landscape and where gaps exist in the field - this is informed primarily by what has been disclosed.
The last item helps to establish researchers' impacts on their fields and facilitates receipt of further funding. Here the researcher is often most interested in what research is cited in the patent art.
Different types of patent documents are available to help satisfy information needs in the use cases mentioned on the left. These include:
When considering the value of patent documents for research, recognize that, just as for other types of publications, THE REVIEW PROCESS CONTROLS THE QUALITY. Recognize that the patent review process is a legal review, and not primarily a technical review. Consider:
Thus, the fact that a device has received a patent does not necessarily speak to the "goodness" of the technology, but it generally speaks to its novelty and utility (see Patents 101).
Check out some of these less than earth-shattering inventions (courtesy FreePatentsOnline.com)!
The purpose of this website is to collect patent searching resources for academic researchers. We make no representation of any legal expertise; further assistance may be obtained from the various patent offices and competent legal practitioners.