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Frequently Asked Questions regarding BlueSearch

  • What is BlueSearch?

    Accessing the combined knowledge of a global expert community, BlueSearch is a highly innovative and success-oriented search for prior art. Typically this kind of research revolves around (in-)validating patents.

    How does BlueSearch work?

    • Clients commission BluePatent with BlueSearch prior art research projects.
    • BluePatent prepares and publishes research calls, presenting the essential technical necessities to the network.
    • Experts of our global community search for relevant prior art documents and submit them via our platform, using our BluePrint form to reference and evaluate their finds.
    • BluePatent delivers the researched documents to the client together with a concise final report.
    • Contributors of the best submissions are rewarded in cash.

    Why is a Search for Prior Art conducted?

    Companies ususally conduct searches for prior art to (in-)validate intellectual property rights of competitors. During patent opposition proceedings documents are sought that show the technology in question as part of the prior art at the time of patent application. Documents proving a patented technology lacks novelty are crucial in litigation, decisive in invalidating the patent.
    Patent examiners in patent offices also conduct prior art research in the course of patent filings.

    What is Prior Art?

    • Prior art in patent law represents any (technical) information that has been made available to the public through written or oral descriptions, through use or in any other way.
    • Even if a formerly published invention has been forgotten and only appeared once in a newspaper clipping of a local newspaper in Mongolia, it is still part of the prior art.
    • An invention is patentable only if it goes beyond prior art at the time of the patent application.
    • In addition, an invention must fulfil the conditions on inventiveness to be patentable.

    Attacking patents - an honorable endeavour?

    Patents are great: they allow innovative enterprises and inventors a limited time market monopoly for their products by providing an effective protection from imitation. The patent system is in place in order to reward state of the art ideas and R&D accomplishments, serving the greater good of technological progress.
    Recently however, more and more patents are being wrongly issued, the technology in question being neither new nor inventive. Stemming from an attitude oblivious or even opposed to the greater good of technology advancement, this development is technically based on the fact that vital knowledge is increasingly distributed in a global and decentralized manner. The standardized processes patent officials go through before issuing a patent do not take this into account, resulting in patent examinations that often do not consider all relevant sources and ultimately in an increasing number of wrongly issued patents.     
    In theory, older and less accessible documents, including dusty dissertations in Ukrainian libraries, Taiwanese professional journals as well as product catalogues of competing companies, should also be checked before a patent is granted. However, patent examiners in patent offices lack human resources as well as the technological means to be able to consider these sources in its entirety.
    The resulting, wrongly granted patents undermine the positive intention of the patent system. They seriously impede the freedom-to-operate of many technology-oriented companies, which in turn are vitally interested in information to help them 'disable' illegitimately limiting patents. By providing access to globally distributed knowledge, BluePatent helps those companies and at the same time helps improve the quality of existing patents and intellectual property rights.    

  • How does my company benefit from BlueSearch?

    Whenever your company's freedom to operate is restricted through opposing patents you can have the validity of those patents verified, checking for invalidity evidence such as novelty destroying prior art. BlueSearch is focused on delivering this evidence, critically enhancing success-rates by tapping into the know-how of our global expert network.

    What is the cost for a BlueSearch project?

    For details on the conditions of a BlueSearch research project, please contact us through our contact form, by e-mail (service@bluepatent.com) or by telephone (+49 (0) 3302 89 82 81 70). We will gladly prepare an offer tailored to your needs. 

    How does BluePatent prepare a research call? Can I influence this?

    The features of the patent in question are the basis for our online feature analysis form. This BluePrint includes descriptive and illustrative graphical material, lists known documents and gives detailed information on the conditions for experts contributing to the case. Close coordination with the client is naturally part of this process.

    Who takes care of rewards?

    BluePatent.
    We handle any communication with experts as well as decisions on and pay-outs of rewards. For clients there is no aministration effort regarding the operation of BluePatent's global expert network.

  • I have found a relevant prior art document. How do I submit it correctly?

    Navigate to the corresponding search request, click on the 'Submission' tab and upload the document. Then you will need to fill out the BluePrint form directly below, where specific information on the features we are looking for is to be given. Please tell us how exactly the features are disclosed in your document and reference each feature as exactly as possible, including the page, paragraph and / or line of occurence for each sought feature seperately. This procedure concludes the submission process.

    Please make sure that your submitted document does not coincide with already known documents which are listed in the 'Research tips' and / or 'Conditions' sections of the search request.

    Following are some general tips on how to successfully process & submit documents, which will have the best chances to win a reward, assuming they are relevant:

    1. Submit documents preferrably in PDF format. Ideally, use an advanced PDF reader tool to edit the document before submitting. The PDF-XChange-Viewer (http://www.tracker-software.com/product/pdf-xchange-viewer ) is free and offers powerful editing functionality.

    2. OCR your document prior to submitting, so that text becomes searchable. The OCR function of the XChange-Viewer comes in handy for this task: 

    OCR Funktion in XChange Viewer benutzen

    3. Also, you can highlight relevant passages and give additional comments (e.g. to explain apparent differences to required features):

    Text hervorheben in PDF XChange Viewer

     

    4. Finally you can help us find your referenced passages faster by highlighting them with the XChange viewer rectangle tool:

    Rechteck markieren in PDF XChange Viewer

    What is a BluePrint? Why do I have to complete it?

    The BluePrint is an online form prepared by BluePatent that enables our experts to conduct a step-by-step feature comparison between the researched document and the relevant patent specification. Experts state a precise reference within the submitted document and estimate the match with each given feature. 

    It is important to fill in the BluePrint as thoroughly as possible as this helps BluePatent's IP team to accurately evaluate the relevance of the submission. The quality of a submission is determined by the relevance of the submitted document as well as the accuracy and completeness of the statements in the corresponding BluePrint.

    How are basic rewards divided among researchers?

    Basic rewards are distributed even if a research case does not close with a successful solution. In that case, the contributors of the best five submissions will be rewarded with 100,- € each. In case a contributor has more than one submission in the TOP five, he wil be rewarded with multiple basic rewards. 

    Basic rewards will be absorbed by success rewards when a case is successfully concluded.

    Please note that due to client confidentiality BluePatent typically cannot publicly announce the successful conclusion of research calls. We will publish information on the results of a research call whenever the client permits this however.

    How are success rewards divided among contributors?

    Submitted documents are classified by the BluePatent evaluation team into categories A, B, C and D. Category A signifies the most relevant and Category D the least significant submissions. After client confirmation respectively adjustment, the rewards are paid-out according to the confirmed quality category of the submission and the amount of submission in the respective categories.

    In case only one submission is rewarded, the contributor of this submission obtains the complete reward. A category A submission will earn 100 percent of the posted reward. Category B submissions will be rewarded according to their usefulness for the client - typically between 50 and 75 percent of the posted reward.

    In case more than one submission is part of the successful solution of a research case, the reward will be divided among all contributors to the solution, the ratio depending on the quality category of the contributions.

    I have submitted a document but have not received any feedback yet. What is going on?

    Sometimes we get a lot of submissions in a very short period of time which will lengthen the time for processing. However, we strive to give you feedback on your contributions as promptly as possible. A final evaluation takes place after the submission period ends and we coordinate the results with our client. This typically takes up to eight weeks.