Importance of Non-Patent Literature in IP Search

Non-Patent Literature in an IP Search

Importance of Non-Patent Literature in IP Search

Prior Art searching is proven to be the most productive step before we approach the patent office for a patent. Getting a patent is not a cake walk, with a lot of money spent on research and development, and in the form fees for filing application and examination besides the most valuable time spent in prosecution. Every individual must assert on three important rules for getting a patent. They are industrial application, novelty, and non-obviousness. However, there is a plethora of literature related to patents and any patent service provider must be able to figure out these rules on the lines of the invention.

Non-patent literature also plays as important a role as patents and can be a potential prior art for your invention. Before we proceed with roles and advantages of non-patent searching, let us understand what non-patent literature (“NPL” abbreviated from here on) is. Here is the broadest definition of NPL, any literature which is publicly available and not a patent or a pending/expired publication in a patent office can be an NPL.

A generic list of non-patent literature is mentioned below:

  • Articles published in scientific journals such as (IEEE, Research Gate, Springer, Wiley Online Library, etc.)
  • Public conferences
  • Research announcements (Companies, forums, newsletters, blogs, universities)
  • Public disclosure platform (Social media, YouTube, Pinterest, books, magazines, datasheets, blueprints).
  • Withdrawn Patents

The NPLs help to identify the key competitors in the domain and market giants with products similar to your inventions; identify different application areas of the invention; identify potential research scholars who can collaborate with you in proceeding further with your invention; identifying any mishaps, as publishing your invention in a journal without your consent.

Major patent offices such as USPTO, EPO, and JPO to name a few are maintaining in-house NPL databases and sharing the data among themselves for effective examination of a patent application. Knowledge is infinite; there is always an open end which can extend beyond the limits.