Friday, 17 April 2009

Patent Searching Using the Espacenet database

Basic guidance for anyone wanting to search the largest free database of patent information on the internet:

Patent Searching

It is important to understand that no searching of any kind can ever be deemed completely foolproof – and lack of understanding of search techniques and how patent documents work often leads to incomplete results. Databases such as Espacenet are not intended as comprehensive search tools and should be regarded as a starting point only. However, as this database is free time spent checking through it could save a lot of money at a later stage, and should not be rushed.

Searching a Subject Area

Choose Advanced Search from the list on the left. When the page opens ensure that the database at 1 is set to “Worldwide” (existing patents filed in any country can be a threat to you even if you’re just intending to apply for a British patent).

Go to the second box down – Keywords in title or abstract. The keywords are those words which you feel best describe what is new, or different about your invention. It is important to search both the title and abstract as patent titles on their own are often vague.

Remember to think of synonyms – you might decide to use the word “car”, but if an existing patent has described the invention as relating to a “vehicle” your search will miss it. Therefore you must try to think of all the alternatives.

Use truncation (wildcards) where you can. Using the word “vehicle” in your search will find patents which use that exact word only. However, using the truncation symbol (*) can widen your search – “vehic*” will find patents which use the words vehicle, vehicles, vehicular and any other variations.

For more detailed guidance on-line, use the Espacenet Assistant.

Alternatively, contact staff at Business & Patent Information Services and we will be happy to help. As well as assistance with Espacenet, we can provide information on the patenting process and also offer more comprehensive searches using commercial databases.

Business and Patent Information Services
2nd Floor
Central Library
Calverley Street

Tel: 0113 2478266
Fax: 0113 2478268

Getting your invention on to the market - information to get you started

You’ve come up with an idea for a new product and you’re convinced it’s got potential. What do you do?

Have you considered whether you can protect it? Is it worth protecting? We can provide you with information on patents, trade marks, registered designs and copyright which may help you decide.

Are you intending to produce the product yourself or are you hoping to sell or licence the product to someone else to produce? Many people choose this latter option, thinking it is the easiest. However, it is a mistake to think that your product will “sell itself”, no matter how good it may be. The chances of you attracting the interest of a producer / distributor is likely to be much greater if you can show that you have done some background research and can back your claims up with facts. Remember that the company will judge you as much as your invention. You need to consider the following key areas:

The ability to demonstrate how the product will benefit the customer and the producer / distributor
What makes your product unique
Is there a gap in the market?

Never rely on opinions of family or friends – they will tell you what you want to hear, rather than what you need to hear.

Research your market. It is unlikely that anyone will take you seriously if you are not familiar with what is out there now. Never assume that there is bound to be a market for your product – you need to show that there is a demand.

How we can help you – We have access to one of the largest public library collections of market research reports which can provide you with the information you need to determine where your market lies, how strong it is, buying habits of potential customers and future market prospects.

Back up your findings with statistics. Apart from those gathered from market reports there are a number of sources of statistics which could help to strengthen your case. covers the economy, population and society and can be broken down into local areas. Leeds economic and social statistics can be found at and

Find out as much as you can about the companies you’re dealing with - whether it’s a competitor or someone you’re hoping to sell / licence your invention to. What products are they developing now?

Don’t always go for the company which is the market leader. They are often least likely to be willing to deal with inventors. Small companies can often exploit niche markets where larger companies can not.

How we can help you – We can provide a tailor made mailing list focusing upon companies in key industries, target companies of a particular size and in key geographical locations. We can also help you research potential partners credit ratings, access any county court judgements and provide full financial reports.

Check to see if the company already has any existing patents. See our information on patent searching.

Maintain an awareness of current issues and events in your area of interest. Checking newspapers and the internet can keep you up to date with issues which could affect the chances of completing a successful agreement with a company.

How we can help you – we can access databases which contain thousands of articles from newspapers and specialist trade journals. A comprehensive list of web sites listing companies by industries is available at

Check out any publications or trade associations specifically related to the market you hope to sell your product in. They may reveal information on companies and issues which are not highlighted elsewhere.

How we can help you - A large number of business journals and directories are held within the department often concentrating on a particular field eg “Food Trade Directory” and “Furniture & Furnishing Directory”. Trade associations can be found at

Look at funding opportunities. Grants may be available through various organisations.

There is never a guarantee of success but the more information you gather, the better chance you’re likely to have of convincing someone that your product is worthwhile.

For more information see the “Getting your product on to the market” section of our web-site, or contact us:
2nd Floor, Central Library
Calverley Street
Leeds LS1 3AB
t. 0113 2478266
f. 0113 2478268


Searching – An Important First Step

If you are considering applying for a Patent or a Trade mark it is essential that you do some initial searching. This can save you a lot of time and money further along the line!
Business and Patent Information Services provides access and advice on free search tools. We also carry out low cost Patent and Trade mark searches on your behalf.If you wish to complete your own search you may find the following websites a useful starting point:

Our own website-

The largest patent database on the web-

The British Library guide to Intellectual Property -

The US Patent Office website-

The UK Intellectual Property Office Trade mark database-

If you don’t find anything after searching these website please do not assume that there is nothing there. Even if you are experienced in using the internet it is often difficult to construct an effective search if you are unfamiliar with patents. It is advisable to seek guidance from a Patent Library, The UK Intellectual Property Office or a Patent Agent.

2nd Floor, Central Library
Calverley Street
t. 0113 2478266
f. 0113 2478268

Thursday, 16 April 2009

Leeds Inventors Group - Peter Draggett - 14/4/09

"Funding, exploiting and protecting your idea" - Peter Draggett, Dragon IP Strategics Ltd, 14th April 2009

Over 30 years in the IP profession, and 25 years as an in-house intellectual property attorney (EPA, CPA) in a wide range of industry sectors in ICI and Smith & Nephew in in-house commercial teams, providing and implementing commercial IP strategy at all levels up to CEO in line with corporate business strategy.
This included product/business development and launch, research collaborations, in- and out- licensing, subcontracting, partnering, etc.
In the last 3 years he has become a gamekeeper turned poacher, providing the same commercial services to spin-outs, start-ups, SME’s and investors, working as an integral part of the client’s business team.
He set up on his own in 2008 to provide the same ‘business development IP’ consultancy services through Dragon IP Strategics Ltd consultancy.

We help people fund, exploit and protect their ideas (IP)
And help to maximise the commercial return on our client’s IP

Case Study:
-Motorcycle Helmets
-Good for direct impacts
-Poor for glancing impacts

The Invention
Film of lubricant under sheet of rubber-like (‘elastomeric’) plastic over the helmet attached around the edges
On glancing impact, road pushes sheet to slide over the helmet – by up to 90o
Force of impact absorbed, spinning slowed/ minimised – 40% increase in safety

Client had developed the invention himself for 10 years, raised equity funding for commercial exploitation ,two families of solid patents/applications in major global markets – Europe, Japan and US but only 10 years life left, a raft of engineering drawings and development know-how
no trade marks.

The idea (IP) may be a person or company’s biggest asset, so
When Dragon talks about IP and Legal, it really means Business

Wednesday, 15 April 2009

My Bright Idea! - Leeds Inventors Group Article

Leeds Inventors Group article in the Yorkshire Evening Post 15/4/09 page 16 - featuring some of our very own inventors........

Leeds has its very own inventors' circle which meets regularly to discuss ways of making the world that little bit better....

Leeds Inventors Club was founded by Jane Elizabeth Lambert, a barrister of 30 years, who specialises in patent law.She set up the club four years ago because she was concerned about naive inventors falling foul of opportunistic agents....

A good place for any would-be inventor to start is the Leeds club, which meets monthly at Leeds Library.Stef Stephenson and Ged Doonan, work in the Business and Patent Information Service at Leeds Central Library and help run the club.........

Retired Leeds plumber Bill Hyland, 66, came up with the idea for a de-burring tool – a time saving gadget which quickly and safely rounds-off the edges of plastic pipes, making them easier to push into fittings.

Full article - My Bright Idea - YEP:

Leed Inventors Group meets once a month , next meeting:

Leeds Inventors Group:

Contact Business & Patent Information Services Tel: 0113 2478266 email: our website

Search for patents at:

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Tuesday, 7 April 2009

Leeds Inventors Group - Sara Ludlam 18/3/09

“Making money from your IP” Sara Ludlam of Ludlams IP Solicitors
Leeds Inventors Group 18th March 2009

Sara began by giving a brief overview of her career, which started when she trained as an IP solicitor in London. She became an IP litigator, working in-house with several large companies. During this time she was involved in licensing such well-known trade marks as Lacoste®, Kickers® and Kangol®. She now runs her own company in Leeds.

Licensing is one of the most common ways of making money from your Intellectual Property – allowing others to produce / sell the product in return for licence fees. Sara pointed out that the first question for anyone in business should be – What Intellectual Property have you got? Until you know what you’ve got, you don’t know what you can sell. The most obvious things initially are the company name and the product name. If you can’t protect these things they can be much more difficult to sell. She passed around a packaged air freshener and asked the audience to think about what types of intellectual property might be relevant to that particular product. Even something as ordinary as this had several types of protection on it.

As well as patents, trade marks, designs and copyright she discussed trade secrets which, like the other types of intellectual property, can be licensed. The formula for Coca Cola is one of the most famous trade secrets. Confidentiality agreements can be useful in all of these situations but it is important to disclose information to as few people as possible.

Patents and registered designs in particular have a limited life span, but other types of Intellectual Property such as trade marks and copyright can be used to increase the value of a product. Gore-Tex® fabric was invented 30 years ago and the patents expired some time ago. However the company insisted that any licensees used the Gore-Tex® trade mark. In doing so goodwill was being built up around the Gore-Tex® brand. It became very familiar and the trade mark built up its value. Trade marks can last indefinitely so it can be a powerful tool to help build your reputation. It is therefore important not to focus on just one aspect of intellectual property.

When licensing your intellectual property it is important to think about the details of the licence. The IP owner can determine such things as the term of the licence, the territories (countries) of use, the field of use (such as the internet) and whether or not the licence is exclusive. Sometimes the IP owner will stipulate a certain number of sales before a licence is extended or renewed. There should always be an option to get out of an agreement if such stipulations are not met, and quality control should be built in can you see samples regularly? Can you inspect the licensee’s factory? Agreement should be reached on who should take action if the IP is infringed – the owner or the licensee? Who, if anyone, is to pay infringement insurance?

It’s always a good idea to keep records of when you were developing your ideas. Potentially it could act as evidence should any disagreements end in court.

The more thought that can be put into how you intend to get the product to market and how you might want to licence it the better. tel: 0113 2307476