This article is written by Saswata Tewari from the University of Petroleum and Energy Studies, Dehradun. This article talks about the concept of patent mining and explains how patent mining can be used in Indian companies.
Table of Contents
Patents are the exclusive granted to the owner of an invention. It gives the owner of an invention which is a product or a process, the exclusive rights and legal capability to exclude other individuals and organizations from making, using, or selling an invention made by the owner, for a designated time in exchange for an exhaustive disclosure of the invention.
Patent documents are the most crucial intellectual resources for protecting the interests of various companies, organizations, and individuals.But due to the extensive information contained in the patent documents, it can be difficult to contemplate owning to the length and richness of such documents.
A new research field, called ‘patent mining,’ has come into the picture to assist all patent analysts in researching, processing, and analyzing patent documents as a solution to this problem.
Importance of patent mining
Patent documents have a great deal of research value. Such values are favorable to industry, business, law, and policy-making committees. If one examines these patent documents, all types of crucial information, details, and relations can be discovered, along with that leading business trends can be explained and novel industrial solutions can be encouraged and all this can lead to making sound investment decisions.
Therefore, it becomes very important for businesses and organizations to carefully and exhaustively analyze these patent documents to evaluate and maintain patent-related values. Many countries such as the United States, United Kingdom, Japan, etc have taken notice of this fact and have invested their public patent authorities to use their resources to enhance the performance of patent analysis tasks to create valuable patent analysis results.
Patent mining is the process of researching, analyzing, and evaluating patent-related documents to find out the most beneficial assets and information associated with granted patents.
Let’s simplify it more to make you understand the whole concept behind patent mining.
Big and old companies that have been working for a long time, tend to possess many intellectual properties that are unaccounted and the companies have no knowledge of such properties. When they get into a merger or in a joint venture, all these intellectual properties get lost amid the restructuring process.
So patent mining helps these companies to research and analyze the documents related to registered patents and after discovering all such intellectual properties of the company, they evaluate and create a portfolio of all the intellectual properties to identify the best assets and valuable information which have the highest possibility of being infringed.
It is very much similar to the process of a regular mining procedure, where the miner uses his tools and digs the most precious stones out of the minery.
Patent Mining in India
Patent mining is a very difficult and challenging task in India because of the lack of proper sources. There are not many online databases in India that give complete patent documents and also lack effective search means.
Indian Patent Office does not provide any comprehensive official database, an individual has to visit different sources to perform a patent mining task. Some of these different sources are:
- Official gazettes.
- Online sources.
- Patent registry.
The official gazette provided by the Indian Patent Office contains all the patent filing information and details of all such accepted patent applications in India. However, the gazette gives very limited information about the filed applications.
The official gazette provides particulars such as the application number, title, abstract, filling date, details about the assignee and the inventor, priority information, claims, and the list goes on. A person may manually check the official gazette in the library of the patent office.
The patent office had even started publishing official journals since 2005, which are available on the Patent Office website (pdf formats). These journals are published every Friday and one can even get his hands on physical hard copies by going to the office. All such information relating to published applications and granted patents can be found on these journals in a catalogue form.
Online databases help those individuals who are unable to conduct thorough research and analysis after going through all official resources. These databases serve as a medium to empower those individuals who want to conduct comprehensive research on the applications filed and granted patents at the Indian Patent Office. Several private and public online databases provide their services to this cause. Some of these are:
Official Indian Patent Database
We have Indian Patent Advanced Search System (InPASS) which is used to retrieve patient-related information. Using InPass, one can conduct full-text research of all Indian patents and patent applications. Wild cards and boolean operators can even be used to perform the research.
The research can be conducted using particulars such as the title, abstract, application number, applicant name, patent number, inventor name, IPC class, and adding to it, research can even be performed using the date of priority, priority country, date of filing or the date of grant.
The database gives out the full text of the patent document along with documents created in the time of office hours if any. Besides, the system gives out guidelines for researching which is focused on allowing easy navigation throughout the system.
Not only this but InPASS also enables an individual to check the legal status of the granted patent in the ‘Patent E-register’ tab. Any person can enter the details related to the patent in this tab and click to show the E-register. The result will show the legal status of the searched patent, date of next renewal, and catalogue form data of the patent. ‘View Document’ tab can be used to see all documents related to the patent application and this tab is usually displayed at the bottom of the result page.
This is India’s first patent database introduced by the Technology Information Forecasting and Assessment Council (TIFAC). In 1995, a Patent Facilitating Centre was also set up by the Technology Information Forecasting and Assessment Council (TIFAC) for Ekaswa. The free searching facilities under Ekaswa can be used by universities, education institutions, Govt R&D institutions, and government departments.
The patent search usually takes place in three levels:
- For the first level, a bibliographic report on patents granted or published in the United States, Europe, PCT, and India is given to the client.
- At the second level, abstracts of the relevant patents are provided as per the request of the client.
- And finally, full-text documents of the patents are provided.
One can also take the help of other databases such as the Patentscope.
Patentscope provides free-of-cost searching facilities which are provided by the World Intellectual Property Organization (WIPO) that enables an individual to get access to various patent-related documents from all over the world. They provide full-text format information to the international Patent Cooperation Treaty (PCT) applications along with access to patent documents of all the participating national and regional countries.
Patentscope provides the option of simple search where one can conduct thorough research using the particulars such as FrontPage, Any Field, Full Text, ID/Number, Int. Classification, Names, Dates.
Not only this but using the advanced where an individual by entering an unlimited number of keywords, can search complex queries. Queries relating to field codes and Boolean expressions can be even searched in the advance search option.
After conducting thorough research on any of the databases, all the identified patent documents can be secured by applying at the patent office. The entire process for getting the patent documents has been laid down in chapter XIII under Section 67 of the Patents Acts, 1970.
Need for patent mining in India
All around the globe, companies, and organizations are trying their best to build up their patent portfolios and this is only possible because people have started recognizing the real value of patent mining.
Patent mining is still in the development process in India. If Indian companies decide to take interest in this area then they will be able to remove all the loopholes that can lead to the exploitation of all the technologies owned by our Indian companies.
Patent mining can be utilized to assist all the big and old Indian companies in discovering key patents from their huge piled-up patent portfolios and propose different methods to earn money from these patents through licensing and litigation.
Companies even use software tools to analyze and evaluate to categorize and discover the most valuable assets of a company. I mean imagine how much wealth an Indian company will be able to generate by identifying all these highest-rated patents which can be monetized for all the betterment of the company.
Patent mining is even used to mine the patent portfolio of other companies, mostly in situations of cross-licensing or in the process of patent due diligence. With proper patent mining, companies can have leverage over the other company or evaluate all possible exploitations of infringement by the other company.
Most of the patent owners are not able to grasp the situation and are not even capable to have a comprehensive overview of what valuable assets the company owns. Most of the time this is due to the reason for an enormous patent portfolio or due to multiple asset transfers due to a merger and acquisition or diversity of the technologies. But in any given situation it is a must for them to get a thorough professional assessment of their patent portfolios and patent mining can immensely help these companies to tackle such situations.
The main objective of patent mining is to assemble the patent portfolio and pinpoint all the finest assets of the company. Even in situations where there are a lot of patent documents to deal with, with proper care and caution, patent mining can be utilized to classify and assess patents to identify the ‘top of the line’ assets. This assessment can be made use of to make important decisions about monetizing the patents through the process of litigation or licensing. The assessment of patent claims is important as it will identify all those top assets that in a monetization campaign and business decisions deserve the most time and resources.
If we see the competition between the top companies of the world, they have to invent new things to stay in the competition, and patents are the exclusive rights for such inventions. Not only this but if we see through, intellectual properties largely affect the value of a business which all the way makes patents more important.
Even though Indian companies have started being vigilant about the importance of patents but still somewhere it still lacks accountability. They have to remind themselves that the balance sheet is not the only thing that shows the valuation of their companies and they have to take some steps to preserve the inventiveness of the company. The ‘ignorance is bliss’ will not work for the management of a company if even after having all the knowledge about new technologies in the country, they are not able to protect these technologies from infringement by other companies.
Keeping oneself updated in the 21st century is a must especially regarding all the new technology. This type of awareness can help companies to protect even those resources that have not proven themselves yet. Not safeguarding these Intellectual properties can prove to be very expensive for the company in the long run and even create a loophole for doing exploitation by other companies.
Patent mining can help in safeguarding these companies against such dangerous situations and if utilized properly, patent mining will generate many more invention reports that the company did not know of.
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