Simple Inventions Make Complex Patents and Prior Art Searches

What seems like a straight-forward idea can be quite complex to describe in a manner that distinguishes its novelty from prior art. Particularly in the mechanical arts, where certain features have very few terms to describe them (e.g., flanges or clasps), it can be difficult to distinguish the idea from prior art. This can be advantageous. For example, when an examiner or defendant conducts a search for prior art, exceptional large result sets due to the commonality of terms in references make identifying the best prior art difficult, and therefore may not be found at all. However, given enough time, a determined opponent, such as a defendant on the hook for a potentially large verdict, may find prior art that renders the invention unpatentable. Therefore, having a thorough prior art search before filing a patent application on these “simple” inventions may be the best defense against an eventual validity challenge. Because a thorough search may take significant time to complete, retaining an expert search firm with proven techniques both reduces costs and improves the quality of results, thus increasing the value of the prior art search. For example, a search firm thoroughly familiar with the classification systems will efficiently narrow down results to the most relevant subclasses. Further, a sophisticated search firm is capable of crafting complex search strings that reflect novel interaction of features that distinguish the invention from prior art without becoming dragged down by those generic search terms like flanges or clasps. SPSG understands these techniques and has expert searchers experienced in searching “simple” inventions and returning the best results. We emphasize not only the best quality but also efficiency to provide our clients with the most value.

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