Intellectual property protection is critical to foster and harness innovation. Without the right protection of ideas, inventors would not reap the full benefits of their inventions, resulting in there being fewer resources available for further research, development or innovation.
Why an IP Check?
Having come up with an idea it is rather important to assess whether this is something original or an improvement of an existing technology, product or service or whether it has already been thought of and developed by others. An IP Check is carried out in order to determine whether the proposed research and innovation has already been developed, protected and owned by others. If it transpires that the proposal is putting forward a new idea or an improvement of an existing technology or process then the IP Check will additionally provide information about the possibility of protecting the idea through intellectual property.
What does it involve?
Through this check a scientific and validation opinion of the technology is provided by experts in the field with particular specialisation in IP, namely qualified Patent Attorney and IP lawyers which have the relevant academic background and experience in the relevant scientific discipline.
The first task that is covered by an IP Check is the understanding of the research and innovation proposal in order to be able to search the relevant keywords related to the purpose, use and composition of the invention within the relevant sectors and obtain the pertinent information relating to the proposal in question. This is done through the searching of keywords on various sources in order to find potential class/subclasses. In this regard keywords or phrases used include common terms describing the invention and its function, effect, end-product, structure, and use. As a result a list of applicable patents and published applications would be obtained.
Subsequently, the IP Check would go onto another level and access the full-text of the resulting relevant existing patents and published applications. This is done by reviewing all claims, specifications and drawings of documents retrieved for relevancy, as well as all the relevant references. This step is rather crucial as it would determine the extent of protecting the idea since it would establish whether any information about the proposal has already been disclosed, whether this proposal is a completely new idea [Novelty Factor] or whether the idea is building on something which has already been developed and/or protected [Prior Art].
How is it carried out?
Within the Commercialisation Voucher Programme, the IP Check caters for a full analysis and assessment of the proposed idea. The outcome of an IP Check serves as pre-check for the researchers and technologists as, they will test the originality of the idea and, become aware of what knowledge already exists in their sphere and what has already been protected. Since it is undertaken at such an early stage, prior to the development of the product or technology, it creates an opportunity for the further tweaking of the idea.