Patent Law Forum
Should a search service be used to search the prior art for a new invention?
My experience with search services is they are a complete waste of time and money. One of my large corporate clients uses a search service for new invention disclosures and emails me the search report when assigning me each case. Each time I take a few minutes to read the search report, and then I wad it up and throw it in the trash. Two critical aspects of patent drafting is understanding the invention in order to enable a competent prior art search. Search services do not understand inventions, and therefore of course the prior art cited in the search reports is never even close. How can it be? It really baffles me how my corporate client pays $1,000 or more for absolutely nothing. Of course I always do my own (informed) prior art search to find the actual relevant prior art which is never even close to that cited in the search report. Being able to understand the invention and search the prior art is at least 50% of patent drafting. A brain surgeon does not ask a nurse to perform the first 50% of an operation and then "finish" the job. Competent patent drafting is very similar to brain surgery when it involves complex technology. All that ever comes from a paid search report is useless busy work since the prior art cited in the search report has to be disclosed in the Information Disclosure Statement (IDS).
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