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Recent blog posts

How long does a patent invalidation search take?

If you were to use a traditional approach, it could be quite a while. You need to work out the keywords for the search, and make sure that you don't miss any relevant keywords. You might also look up and apply a class code filter to the results, an additional step which could take additional time. 

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Many patent owners, whether universities, SMEs, research organisations or even big corporations, end up having a large patent portfolio that can cost them a significant sum to maintain over time. For example, to renew a US patent at the 11.5 year mark can cost up to US$7400, while Chinese and many European patents need to be renewed every year, with a total cost exceeding US$1000 per year  (including service charges) in some cases. 

In an ideal world the owners would value each patent before renewing them, which could provide them with the confidence to save money by abandoning low value patents.

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How much is a patent worth?

Some say that most patents are worthless, but conversely some patents are very valuable, and hard-nosed companies still invest heavily in new patents

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Most people when starting a patent search start by looking for patents with similar keywords, in either one of the free patent search engines (Google Patent, Espacenet, The Lens or others) or one of the subscription engines out there. And indeed this is a good approach and one that many users of Cluster Searching also use. 

Similarly, a lot of people combine this with class code searching. Class (or classification) codes can be useful means of conducting a preliminary filtering, or even a search in some cases.

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Yahoo is putting up a portfolio of 2659 of its patents up for sale, and is accepting bids at the moment. Price expectations have ranged up to five billion dollars.

2659 is a lot of patents by any measure, and this would ordinarily stretch the resources of any patent analyst. However here at Ambercite, we have developed some powerful tools such as Cluster Searching to help these analysts, and so we were curious to explore this portfolio ourselves. In particular, we were wondering: 

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Besides working with Ambercite, I do some IP management work with clients from time to time. As part of this, we were working with a client a couple of weeks ago who was worried about an Australian patent. This patent had been granted in Australia, and a very similar family member had been granted in the US - with the granted US patent having 30 prior art patent citations, and some non-patent literature. 

In Australia it can be very difficult to invalidate a patent for anything other than lack of novelty. So we needed a single document that disclosed all of the key features of the granted patent.

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Cluster Searching was developed to find similar patents to a single patent,  or a group of patents. This makes it ideal for reviewing what can even be a large portfolio of patents, and doing the likes of:

  • Identifying the most important patents in the portfolio, or;
  • Identifying the owners of the most similar patents -  both large and small companies.

As an example of this, we have looked at the patent portfolio of a well known company - Facebook. The objective of this search was to ask a couple of questions: 

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A company named VOIP-Pal com has sued AT&T, Verizon and Apple for a total of around $7b, claiming infringement of two of their patents:

  • US8542815, filed in November 2007 and with a priority date of 2 November 2006, for Producing routing messages for voice over IP communications 
  • US9179005, filed in August 2013, and with the same priority date and title as above.

 

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Here at Ambercite we develop tools based on citation searching. We believe the right combination of our large database of patents and their citations - and our unique analytics tools can quickly find you similar patents to relevant patents that you already know about.

However in some cases you may not know what the best starting patents are. You may have some concepts, keywords or potential patent owners you are interested, but little more than that. So what can you do?

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Big data is currently a buzz word in the business world, as shown by the Google Trends search shown below:

BigData-seach-analytics.gif

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