A sound knowledge of the IP landscape involves knowing the competitors active in your IP space, what they are doing, and what rights they can validly enforce.
Shelston IP has a dedicated and highly experienced in-house patent searcher, who can search for prior IP rights and watch and map the IP landscape. We are well-resourced with access to a range of commercial databases, including PatBase and STN, as well as numerous publicly accessible national patent databases.
Our patent searching and watching expertise includes:
- patent registrability searches, locally and internationally
- patent infringement searches to explore whether the manufacture or sale of new products, processes, designs or brands may infringe prior third-party IP rights in particular jurisdictions
- name searches to explore the scope of current IP rights of particular competitors or other parties of interest
- patent subject matter searches to explore the current state of the art
- watching services to monitor the progress or status of particular a patent application, competitor or market sector.
Our in house capacity means that we are able to tailor searches and watches to the client’s needs and budgets.
Once competitor IP has been identified, it is critical to determine the relevance (infringement) and strength (validity) of that IP in order to properly inform business decisions. An overly conservative strategy of assuming all patents are valid would lead to near paralysis whereas simply ignoring a potentially relevant patent could result in crippling injunctions or damages.
An understanding of infringement and validity requires a sound knowledge of the underlying technology as well as the relevant statute and case law (which is constantly evolving). The inherent degree of uncertainly in making assessments on infringement and validity is present which means that a subjective element is inevitably part of the attorneys decision making process. In this regard, we have a number of very experienced patent attorneys who, in consultation with our patent litigation team are able to ensure that any risks are understood and managed to the greatest degree possible, to avoid unpleasant surprises.