1. PATENT SEARCH AND PATENT INFORMATION
We consider the search to be one of the most important phase before compiling an application for a patent or an utility model.
What is patent information?
It is the newest information about inventions all over the world. The relative importance of patent information among all the technical information is estimated to be over 80 %. It is not just the information on published patent applications, granted patents and registered utility models, but it is also information concerning commercial, technical and juridical aspects.
What is the aim of patent search and why is patent information necessary?
The aim of patent search is by using the accomplishment of scientific and technical developments to reduce client?s risk that similar solution already exists somewhere. It is especially important before filing a registration application of a utility model, because, according to the law, the Estonian Patent Office doesn?t check the novelty of the utility models. When filing a dispute or claim with reference to the utility model certificate, the novelty of the model could prove to be a very important criterion in case of finishing the illegal use of the model or annulling the certificate. The same applies to the patent application.
In addition, the patent search reduces the costs of filing the application, because it is not worth to protect an invention that is already known and/or protected.
Patent search gives an overview of what is happening in this field of activity and in the target markets, and provides information about recent technological innovations and changes. In addition, through patent search one can find useful information about competitors or future partners.
Who might be interested in patent search?
Patent search should be done in order to assess the patentability of one?s invention. In case one already has a patent or patent application then the knowledge of what is going on in this area helps to find patent papers that infringe on one?s rights as well as useful information to avoid potential infringement of others? patent rights. Patent information is useful in scientific and technical development, in product development, in business, in market surveillance, etc.
In product development
No matter how far the product development is, the information in the patent database will be of great assistance. First of all, it gives an opportunity to find out more about different solutions in this area, which helps to avoid unnecessary costs, to make sure that anyone has not created anything similar. Also, it can be a source for new ideas or already tested ideas for some technical problem.
Scientific and technical development
Patent databases enable to find out what is already there and thereby prevent unnecessary expenses and duplication in the search. Possibility to identify and evaluate technologies for license, ensure the novelty of your achievement, learn more about the accomplishments and work of other similar research groups.
By using the patent databases of different countries, it is possible to plan one?s export strategy - which companies are in the target markets, what is protected in given area (in order to assure one?s competitive advantages and prevent the infringement on other companies? rights). To evaluate competitors? activity in the target markets and given area - the number of published patent applications and granted patents is a direct outcome of scientific and technological development. By using available information it is possible to find new opportunities, to develop and ensure one?s position in the export markets, rise the quality of one?s products and services and through that increase the liability of clients.
Other commercial aims
There are different ways of using patent information also in business activity. This is, for example, to find business and license partners, existing products, markets and producers for one?s goods and services in other countries. It is possible to follow the activities of actual and potential competitors and through that ensure one?s position in the market. It also helps to protect oneself against improper competition, infringement on patent rights, piracy and against other possible problems.
What are the possibilities of patent search in our company?
For a patent search we use the patent bulletins and utility model gazettes in our archives, self-created and constantly updated databases of all inventions patented and registered as utility models in Estonia. If necessary, one of our experts will conduct a search in Patent Library. Also different databases of the world are used.
2. TRADE MARK SEARCHES
What is trademark search?
Trademark search is an important phase in the process of developing and registering a new trademark and it usually reveals earlier registered or applied for registration of similar or identical trademarks. If the earlier trademark is applied for registration for designating identical or similar goods and services, the applicant should take into account the fact that the Patent Office may refuse the registration.
When the trademark search should be done?
We advise to carry out the trademark search already when developing the trademark, but definitely before filing the registration application. This way the applicant will save time and money.
If it turns out that the applicant?s trademark may be not registrable, the costs of introducing the trademark (e.g. costs concerning registration and advertisement) will fall off and one can carry on developing a new trademark.
Käosaar & Co cannot give a final assessment, whether the trademark is registrable or not, based on search results (only the examiners of the Patent Office can do that), but considering our experiences in trademark registrations we can estimate quite exactly whether the trademark is registrable or not.
What should be kept in mind when registering a trademark?
The trademark search should be carried out in those countries, where the trademark is going to be used. Since Estonia is now a memberstate of the European Union, the Estonian Patent Office compares the trademarks applied for registration with the trademarks already registered in Estonia and also with the earlier European Union trademarks. Identical or similar trademarks will be opposed to later trademark applications.