We produce an overview of known technology (the prior art) around an idea or a product: anything from a simple general survey to a deep analysis. The level of ambition is determined in consultation with you, and you can choose between various fixed-price packages and hourly charging. These differ in the amount of time that we have available, and this determines the extent of the investigation and the design of the report.
The more time we use, the more reliable is the result
A limited amount of time is sometimes sufficient for a satisfactory assessment of the technological situation. If nothing is found within this time, however, it does not necessarily mean that there is nothing relevant to be retrieved in the information sources. The more time we use, the greater is the probability that existing important material can be found.
A balance must always be made between budget and purpose, and our experience is important here, and enables us to give sound recommendations. Our reference point is case management at the European Patent Office (EPO). The diagram below illustrates how our various searches (described below) relate to EPO case management.
Naturally, we are in continual dialogue with you, and you can express your wishes about what sources we use, how we design the report, and the number of documents cited. Some typical descriptions of our packages are given below. Note, however, that we are happy to adapt the content and the form or reporting to your wishes.
A brief assessment of the area of technology. A list of related technology and brief summaries of the current technology are supplied in a brief report. This report provides an indication of the opportunities and risks, and what the next stage should focus on.
Basic novelty search
A more thorough search, primarily based on extracts from patents and patent applications, and may include information from other technical literature. The report contains a brief analysis and comments relating to the relevant area of technology.
Standard novelty search
A deeper investigation of the area of technology based not only on patent information but also technical literature, and including both abstract searches and full-text searches. A report with an analysis and comments concerning the connection between key features and cited prior art references is normally provided.
Extended novelty search
An investigation that is equivalent to one carried out by a national patent office, based on several different sources of information (not only patent information but also other technical literature). The investigation is often based on draft patent claims. A report that presents an exhaustive analysis and comments is provided.
This is a supplementary service to our investigations. Based on the documents that have been revealed by a novelty search, the analysis is extended with a preliminary assessment of patentability. The assessment is adapted according to the whether the search is based on a conceptual description of an invention or a proper set of claims.
We search for supplementary, novelty-obstructing material that concerns a patent, when faced with an objection or lawsuit relating to invalidation or licensing. We also investigate whether the patent has been correctly granted, and we can assess possible limitations. This work includes an analysis of the previous work, and this often leads to new pathways for our searches, based on such questions as:
- Which national patent offices have carried out searches and which documents have they identified as relevant?
- Which databases were available at the time, and which search profiles were used?
- When were the previous searches carried out?
Using this analysis we then design an appropriate search strategy utilizing the newest, largest commercial patent and article databases to maximize our ability to find every eventual case that can influence or obstruct the current situation.
This analysis enables us to develop our own search strategy. We always combine several large commercial patent databases and article databases, such that we can find all possible impediments that affect the assessment of novelty. Searches are carried out in several languages, to ensure that nothing is lost in translation. The languages that we master fluently are English, German, French, Swedish, Finnish, Arabic, Polish and Russian. The report that we draw up is normally based on a mapping of the documentation found for each distinctive feature of the claims, in a process known as “claim charting”.
Infringement search (Freedom to operate)
An infringement search may be needed, for example, before the launch of a product, when seeking external financing, or during establishment in a new area of technology. It is vital in such cases to identify possible impediments and dependencies on the patents of competitors on the market, in order to reduce the risk of infringement. The purpose of the investigation may be to identify active patents whose protective scope covers a certain area, or to identify older prior art technology that constitutes an obstruction to novelty in the technical area.
We design each search in dialog with you
We always strive to achieve dialogue with you when developing search profiles for infringement searches. All of our consultants have experience from national patent offices, which means that they have the expertise required to analyse and interpret claims. The report is based on the special requirements of each commission, and can be anything from an oral presentation to a written assessment and the associated references to the protective scope of overlapping patent claims.
The project is often divided into several stages in order to optimise cost-effectiveness. It can start with a preliminary investigation with a novelty-analysis perspective that focuses on the claim scope. This may be followed by a more focussed search of the primary competitors and regions, and – where necessary – by a supplementary, broader search of patent claims.
Survey the Patent Landscape and monitor the Technical Area
We survey and analyse the players and trends in an area of technology based on such factors as geography, technology and time. The mapping process is based on your needs and the target group for the result. It may include anything from a technical scan before starting a project to creating a complete patent landscape in order to identify threats and opportunities within an area of technology or a group of players.
The result can be presented in the form of patent documents and statistics, or a detailed report with comments, graphs and diagrams, and analysis.
Uppdragshuset is a comprehensive supplier of competitive surveillance and combines the expertise of our consultants with our web-based system ArchiveOnline. You can obtain support throughout the process, with everything from setting up profiles and receiving material from ArchiveOnline to continuous monitoring and updating of search profiles.
We identify your requirements and resources in collaboration with you. We then discuss the purpose and scope of the surveillance in order to achieve the optimal result.
In collaboration with you, we draw up a surveillance profile of your competitors and/or the area of technology. It is our ambition to create a profile that covers the desired area of technology and gives correct hits (high recall), while at the same time is subject to an acceptable noise level and a suitable number of hits (high precision). It is often our goal that the profile is not to generate more than a specified (agreed upon) number of hits in each delivery, saving you time and money.
We can follow up and optimise the profile after the first delivery. You receive the result and then classify the documents found as relevant or irrelevant. We use this information to revise the profile in order to optimise the result. The surveillance results are subsequently sent as often as you wish (once a month, for example).
It is important when considering the realisation of a business idea or technical product to survey the issues that the company faces in the areas of intellectual property rights, technology and commerce. At Uppdragshuset we can contribute technical and commercial advice, in addition to services offered by, for example, patent agencies and law firms.
In order to be successful in the innovation process, it is fundamental to know, for example, which tools are available. It is also vital to gain access to suitable analyses and decision-support factors. Uppdragshuset has worked in such matters with the Confederation of Swedish Enterprise (Svenskt Näringsliv), VINNOVA, ALMI and several other national centres of innovation.
We advise and educate
Uppdragshuset has long experience of supporting our customers in development projects. We offer tailored courses and advisory services within intellectual property rights and global technical analysis. We target companies that need to increase their knowledge and obtain support in issues of intellectual property rights.
We can help to couple your business strategies with the internal intellectual property activities, and with the practical use of intellectual property rights (IPR) in the market. Examples of the questions faced are:
- What opportunities are there in intellectual property rights, open source, copyright, etc.? What are the advantages and disadvantages? We analyse the factors that play a role in the decision whether to apply IPR protection as part of the business strategy and how to do it.
- How can the company develop its IP activities? What organisational structures are needed, and how can innovative ideas be picked up and exploited? We act as a sounding board, and we aim to improve the innovation process.