The purpose of the patent system is to encourage innovation. An invention is fully disclosed to the government, and, in return, rights are awarded for a limited period of time. The disclosure is published when a patent is issued. Many national and regional patent offices publish pending patent applications before issuance, at about 18 months after the initial application is filed. The World Intellectual Property Organization (WIPO) publishes pending international (PCT) applications 18 months after the filing date. These published disclosures are available to be reviewed and evaluated, and can be of substantial value to a skilled researcher wanting to accelerate the process of innovation for his or her research.
The 21st century presents much more than Edison had available over 100 years ago. We now have databases of 50 million patent documents from all over the world that can be studied utilizing both traditional classification searching as well as by searching keywords using Boolean search tools. In our rapidly developing innovation economy, there is an opportunity to have all of this information from around the globe available to researchers as they start and work on major projects. Much of this information may not be of published yet in peer reviewed journals. It is not peer reviewed and may not be ripe for publication elsewhere. It will not yet be available in journals or trade publications. The published patent application will be the first source of information.
Empowering today's researcher with such information, and having the benefit of expert interpretation and counseling is an added value that our Academic Innovation Practice provides to universities and research centers for a particular technology sector, or with regard to a specific research project.