Assessing Invention Uniqueness

This article presents the uniqueness questionnaire where we score the strength of your idea. In other words invention uniqueness.

The questionnaire is geared towards patent type ideas and ignores the requirement for the inventive step to be non-obvious. We believe that obviousness is difficult for non IP professionals to assess and people normally err on the side of assuming everything to be obvious.

Therefore, this test should be left to the experience of a patent agent.

During searches, actively look for evidence that counts against your invention. You might not like it, but it is better than finding the show stopper later.

Market Search

  1. assessing uniqueness scoreUnder suitable confidentiality consult a target market expert (this could include yourself) and find out if similar problems have been solved before by the same means as your invention.
    • If there is prior art abandon invention or invent a work around
    • Award 1 point if there is no prior art and the expert has less than 5 years experience
    • Award 2 points if there is no prior art and the expert has greater than 5 years market experience
  2. assessing uniqueness scoreUsing the popular search engines and trade journal site search mechanisms enter the market keywords.
    • If there is prior art abandon invention or invent a work around
    • Award yourself 1 point if you do not find any prior art

Technology or Concept Search

  1. Under suitable confidentiality consult a relevant technical expert (this could include yourself) and find out if similar problems have been solved before by the same means as your invention.
    • assessing uniqueness scoreIf there is prior art abandon invention or invent a work around
    • Award 1 point if there is no prior art and the expert has less than 5 years experience
    • Award 2 points if there is no prior art and the expert has greater than 5 years market experience
  2. Using the popular search engines and technology site search mechanisms enter the technical or functional keywords. Remember, even science fiction can contain prior art (Arthur C Clarke is credited with the invention of the satellite)
    • assessing uniqueness scoreIf there is prior art abandon invention or invent a work around
    • Award yourself 1 point if you do not find any prior art

Patent Search and Invention Uniqueness

  1. assessing uniqueness scoreSearch esp@cenet [12] on the web (a database of 45 million worldwide patents but still incomplete)
    • If there is prior art abandon invention or invent a work around
    • Award yourself 2 points if there is no prior art

     

  2. assessing uniqueness scoreSearch US Patent [13] database on the web
    • If there is prior art abandon invention or invent a work around
    • Award yourself 2 points if there is no prior art

     

  3. assessing uniqueness scoreConsult patent agent or patent office search facility
    • If there is prior art abandon invention or invent a work around
    • Award yourself 4 points if there is no prior art

Score Total

If any question resulted in the identification of prior art then the total score is zero and the invention should be refined. In the cases where the prior art belongs to abandoned or expired patents then you are safe to proceed and the refinement should include other forms of IP protection to obtain exclusivity. However, this is obviously much less powerful than being able to obtain a patent.

If no prior art is identified, then the scores are totalled to give a uniqueness total which is carried through to the next stage. The maximum score is 14.

 

Total = assessing uniqueness score

 

That’s how you score invention uniqueness!

 

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