Hybrid Patentability Searches Can Help You Save 33% on Search Costs. Here’s How

Performing exhaustive patentability searches is a common practice among businesses before filing a patent application to protect themselves from getting embroiled in patent litigations. Furthermore, during any financial crisis, businesses can reap monetary benefits either by using patents as loan collaterals or via patent monetization. Given its importance, companies invest huge capital on patentability searches. They, however, are always seeking ways to save costs associated with these searches. Read on if you are looking for a solution that can help you save patentability search costs.

Conventional Innovation Funnel

Today, a large majority of companies are focused on R&D activities for business growth. In fact, some of them are even willing to embark on a perilous journey to seek long-term opportunities to innovate their product portfolio, while also considering building sustainable IP around it. Consequently, there is a high influx of ideas in the overall innovation funnel (Fig. 1).

Fig.1: Conventional Innovation Funnel

What is an innovation funnel you ask? Simply put, an innovation funnel is a process that allows a continuous stream of ideas to be screened for feasibility of patent filing. Along the way, most ideas are knocked down and only a few make it to the patent filing stage. This means the input to the innovation funnel is ideas and the output is patent applications.

Essentially, an innovation funnel comprises of three stages. The first one is the ‘Idea Capturing Stage’ wherein ideas are captured and denoted as 6X ideas, where X is a variable. The captured ideas undergo screening at the ‘Idea Screening Stage’ to get 2X ideas. Eventually, after the idea screening stage, we get 1X ideas at the ‘Idea Protection Stage’, where these 1X ideas are considered suitable for patent filing. For instance, if a company files 100 patent applications per annum, then the minimum number of ideas that it starts with is 600. Such a conversion happens when the innovation pipeline is well set up. However, there are companies which have conversions as low as 20:1, i.e., they begin with 600 ideas and ultimately file only 30 applications as most ideas are rejected due to lack of novelty.

Hybrid Approach: A Targeted Solution for Patentability Searches

It is common knowledge that big firms such as IBM and Samsung file inventions in all technical spheres. Since there is an explosion in idea submissions and dearth of people processing the ideas, companies often outsource their 6X ideas. Almost 80% companies incur costs on patentability searches at the 6X or 2X level. Further, nearly 20% companies which have a well set up IP process, screen the invention up to 1X level and file patent applications thereafter. Performing such searches internally, however, can be an arduous task for companies as large chunks of data need to be screened. On the other hand, if they outsource their searches, they are often faced with challenges associated with outsourcing.

To counter the aforementioned challenges, we have devised a solution – the hybrid approach. In this approach, we divide the patentability search process into two stages. In the first stage, 6X inventions are fed into an AI tool to knockout frivolous inventions. This step not only saves costs but also reduces the turnaround time. All you have to do is feed your concept into the tool and allow it to fetch search results that show the level of novelty of your idea. If it is not novel, you can think of ways to modify your idea to meet the novelty criteria. Such post-ideation novelty searches (also known as knockout novelty searches) are followed by pre-filing searches (manual searches).

Saving Almost 33% Costs Using Hybrid Approach

To understand how companies can save up to one-third of the total costs involved in the complete invention screening process, let us take a look at some of the use cases.

In case a company files less than 100 patents per annum (Case 1), it can save thousands of dollars using the hybrid approach. This is because such a company can first screen 6X ideas (6X level, where X=100 ideas) using the AI-based tool followed by a manual screening (2X level). This two-stage screening process reduces the total cost incurred on patentability searches. For the same company, a conventional method where patentability searches are only performed manually, means that the costs are naturally higher. On comparing the costs incurred using a hybrid approach with the costs incurred using a conventional method, you will observe that the hybrid approach allows you to save almost one-third (33%) of the total costs.

Similarly, companies that file less than 500 patents per annum save more than half a million (Case 2) and companies with more than a thousand patent filings per annum save more than a million dollars (Case 3). This indicates that whether you file patents as low as 100 or as high as 1000, the hybrid approach helps you save nearly 33% costs on the complete invention screening process.

Final Thoughts

Patent filing is an expensive process and companies always seek patentability search methods that not only save costs but also reduce the turnaround time. The hybrid approach which is a combination of AI-based and manual patentability searches offers just what every company wants – cost savings and a short turnaround time. This approach is part of Sagacious IP’s novel “IT for IP” service whichoffers a hybrid mix of bespoke IT solutions and exclusive AI-driven tools for IP departments, IP law practitioners, business intelligence units, etc. Click here to know more about the service and click here for the webinar.

-Sumit Prasad (IT for IP) and The Editorial Team

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