|How well do you know your competitive landscape?|
Janine Bastick, Searching division, Wrays Perth
Thinking of investing to develop technology, protecting and patenting a design, trade mark or building upon your IP portfolio? Savvy business executives will conduct a search from the outset because searching initially helps to determine whether your invention, design, or trade mark satisfies the respective requirements for registration or just as importantly it will help you to determine whether its use will infringe any third party rights. Similarly, this should apply when you are considering company brand development activities.
A Patent Search is a valuable tool; it helps you to assess the potential behind various business activities. Specifically, a patent novelty search will identify relevant prior art which will determine the patentability of your invention. Whereas a freedom to operate search will establish whether marketing your particular product will actually infringe upon the rights of others.
Additional to this, the monitoring of competitor activity can reveal competitive threat or opportunities by identifying new technological developments in your particular field, sector. Perhaps you want to simply monitor the progress of a competitor's patent application.
Design registration protects the shape, configuration, pattern or ornamentation which makes your product unique. Searching available designs databases will determine whether your design is new and distinctive, or if it's likely to infringe the existing design rights of others, this saves you not only time and money, but the headache and risk associated with this in the courts.
Trade Marks: Major problems are often caused when another party has independently lodged a trade mark application for the same or a substantially identical trade mark, and yet another trader has begun using the same or a similar trade mark and has already committed to the great expense of printing marketing materials, labels, packaging, web applications etc. Many months down the track and this could have quite simply have been advised during examination of a trade mark application, that not only was there an earlier registration which will prevent your application from proceeding, but highlight early on the potential of infringing on the use of another's trade mark. This all proves to be a very expensive exercise and the frustration and heartache could well have been avoided had you conducted a simple, cost-effective search to begin with.