How to Conduct a State-of-the-Art Search: 5 Steps

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state of art Searches in Building a Strong Patent Portfolio

State-of-the-art search 

In the ever-evolving world of technology and innovation, keeping up with the latest advancements and trends is crucial for businesses and inventors alike. A state-of-the-art search, also known as a “technology landscape search,” provides invaluable insights into the current state of a particular technical field. In this article, we would like to explore the difference between patentability searches and state-of-the-art searches, why and when to conduct a state-of-the-art patent search, how to conduct a state-of-the-art search, and its role in creating a robust patent portfolio.

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What is the state-of-the-art search?

State-of-the-art search refers to any information that is available in the public domain in the form of patent or non-patent literature, scientific literature, or in any other form. 

State-of-the-art search is an in-depth search of the latest developments in a specific technology field to attain a comprehensive perspective of that field. Such searches are conducted for the inventors to study the latest patents and decide the future strategy in their field of research. 

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Difference between patentability search and state-of-the-art search

The difference between patentability search and state-of-the-art search is while both patentability searches and state-of-the-art searches involve examining patent literature and other technical resources, their objectives and scope differ significantly.

A patentability search, as we discussed in a previous article, primarily aims to determine whether an invention is novel and non-obvious, meeting the requirements for patent protection. This type of search focuses on identifying prior art that may be similar or relevant to a specific invention.

On the other hand, a state-of-the-art search is broader in scope, focusing on the entire technical field rather than a single invention. Its objective is to provide a comprehensive overview of the latest advancements, trends, and players in a particular industry, offering valuable insights for businesses and inventors to identify opportunities, assess competition, and guide research and development efforts.

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Why and When to Conduct a State-of-the-Art Patent Search

There are several reasons why and when to conduct a state-of-the-art patent search:

Research and development (R&D) Guidance

A state-of-the-art search can help businesses and inventors identify the most promising areas for research, potential gaps in the market, and emerging technologies that may disrupt their industry.

Competitive analysis

Understanding the patent landscape enables businesses to assess their competitors’ IP strategies and identify potential threats or opportunities.

Assess R&D activities

State-of-the-art search is very important for companies or businesses that focus on innovation or work in a certain area of technology. State-of-the-art search analyses the latest development in the field and helps determine future strategies for their research. 

Simplified the decision-making process

State-of-the-art search determines relevant information about any business decision that an enterprise wishes to take, that could be in favor or against the decision. It provides information regarding the risk factor, competitiveness, and profitability related to the field of interest. Therefore, conducting a state-of-the-art search helps simplify the future decision-making process.

Mergers and acquisitions (M&A) due diligence

State-of-the-art searches can provide valuable information for businesses considering M&A deals, helping them evaluate a target company’s patent portfolio and technological prowess.

Licensing opportunities

A comprehensive view of the patent landscape can help businesses identify potential licensing partners or opportunities for cross-licensing agreements.

Building a robust patent portfolio

A state-of-the-art search provides a solid foundation for developing a strong patent portfolio, ensuring that businesses and inventors are aware of the latest technological advancements and trends in their field.

Saves time and capital

State-of-the-art search further helps save your time and capital by determining problems and solutions that have already been addressed in recent developments in the field of interest; thus, it helps save time and minimize unprofitable moves.

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How to Conduct a State-of-the-Art Search?

Similar to a patentability search, conducting a state-of-the-art search involves using patent databases such as the USPTO, EPO, and WIPO, as well as non-patent literature sources. However, the focus is on gaining a broad understanding of the technical field rather than identifying specific prior art related to an invention.

A successful state-of-the-art search typically involves the following steps:

Define the technical field

Clearly outline the scope of the search, specifying the industry or technology of interest.

Develop a search strategy

Identify relevant keywords, patent classifications, and search queries to be used in the search.

Conduct the search

Explore patent databases and non-patent literature sources, gathering data on patents, patent applications, and other technical publications.

Analyze the results

Examine the gathered data to identify trends, key players, and technological advancements in the technical field.

Report the findings

Summarize the search results and analysis in a comprehensive report, highlighting the most relevant insights and implications for the business or inventor.

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Our team of advanced patent attorneys assists clients with patent searches, drafting patent applications, and patent (intellectual property) agreements, including licensing and non-disclosure agreements.

Advocate Rahul Dev is a Patent Attorney & International Business Lawyer practicing Technology, Intellectual Property & Corporate Laws. He is reachable at rd (at) patentbusinesslawyer (dot) com & @rdpatentlawyer on Twitter.

Quoted in and contributed to 50+ national & international publications (Bloomberg, FirstPost, SwissInfo, Outlook Money, Yahoo News, Times of India, Economic Times, Business Standard, Quartz, Global Legal Post, International Bar Association, LawAsia, BioSpectrum Asia, Digital News Asia, e27, Leaders Speak, Entrepreneur India, VCCircle, AutoTech).

Regularly invited to speak at international & national platforms (conferences, TV channels, seminars, corporate trainings, government workshops) on technology, patents, business strategy, legal developments, leadership & management.

Working closely with patent attorneys along with international law firms with significant experience with lawyers in Asia Pacific providing services to clients in US and Europe. Flagship services include international patent and trademark filings, patent services in India and global patent consulting services.

Global Blockchain Lawyers ( is a digital platform to discuss legal issues, latest technology and legal developments, and applicable laws in the dynamic field of Digital Currency, Blockchain, Bitcoin, Cryptocurrency and raising capital through the sale of tokens or coins (ICO or Initial Coin Offerings).

Blockchain ecosystem in India is evolving at a rapid pace and a proactive legal approach is required by blockchain lawyers in India to understand the complex nature of applicable laws and regulations.


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