The patent domain represents a major source of technical information and it is claimed that 80% of the world's technical information can be found here. Furthermore, patents often provide links to other published information. Patents are often the first publication of technical innovation since most companies would not risk disclosure until an application has been granted or is well underway. They therefore provide a valuable indicator of competitive activity. The granting of a patent gives the Applicant or Inventor important monopoly rights and clearly the preparation of a patent requires detailed knowledge of the prior art. Equally it is important when introducing new products to avoid unexpected infringements and to ensure freedom to operate.
Several thousand patents are published each week, and for retrospective searching the European Patent Office (EPO) provides links to 30 million patents. Searching for patent information can be a daunting task particularly for a general search where the outcome can never be guaranteed as complete. Modern databases offer many facilities for searching including date fields, inventors, applicants and the creative use of text strings. There are also many patent classification schema such as ECLA (European Classification system) and IPC (International Patent Classification system) which allow for selective searching. However for best results there remains a need for specialist knowledge within the selected search domain. PRA is therefore pleased to offer a new service that combines technical knowledge, new search tools and previous experience in compiling patent information. The application of PRA's specialist knowledge of paint, coatings, inks, and adhesives offers a more selective and informed service in comparison with general and legal agencies.
Because the cost of a search depends greatly on the complexity of an individual case it is not possible to give a precise quotation for a search. PRA therefore offers the following options. After an initial free consultation to establish the scope and objectives of the search three possibilities are offered:-
In the latter case interim steps can be agreed and reporting of progress at regular intervals established.
The results will be presented in the form of a confidential report, usually as tabulated results with an executive overview. Tables will summarise the main information and includes titles, abstracts, classification codes etc. The results can if required be exported to a spreadsheet for further analysis.