Companies can own many types of intellectual property, including patents and trademarks. Technical innovations are usually protected through patents so the inventor can control their rights to commercialize production, use, distribution and sales during the protected period (20 years in the US) in the territories covered by the patent. Patents do provide technical information that may inspire other inventions, and may be available for license. Patent searching can be helpful during research of:
See the World Intellectual Property Organization for more background. (Note, ultimately these determinations involve legal opinion.)
International Patent Classification Chemistry related patents are granted in the following areas:
From WIPO: In conducting an Freedom-to-Operate (FTO) search and analysis, it is worth bearing in mind that some of the limitations on patents also offer potential opportunities. For example:
Patents can be searched by classification code or keyword. Results from keyword searching will vary both by the technical language used as well as the database algorithm for synonyms, etc.
Patent regulation varies internationally, and many patents are filed in multiple authorities, such as the United States Patent & Trademark Office (US), the European Patent Office (EP), and the China Patent & Trademark Office (CN). A list of patent country or authority codes are available via ESpaceNet. Information about the multiple filings (patent families) can be found in most patent databases.
The USPTO issues several types of patents:
Kind Codes provide additional information about the type and status of a patent (for example A1: Patent Application Publication).