State of the Art

A State of the Art (SOA) patent search is a comprehensive search that summarizes the existing prior art and illustrates the current state of affairs in a particular field of technology or sub-technology. This helps our clients assess their R&D activities across the segment and simplifies the decision-making process as it relates to furthering their research and commercial developments.

Two types of clients primarily find SOA searches useful: the client who is looking to enter a new field and the client who needs to fine-tune or otherwise change their research or commerce direction.

An SOA search can save both types of clients plenty of time and capital, as it provides a broad view of the work that has already been done within the segment in question. Knowing how and why certain technologies evolved and which problems and solutions have already been discovered makes for more efficient resource allocation and minimizes unprofitable moves.

Designed to provide up-to-date information about progress in a specific technical field, a State of the Art Patent Search is the broadest and most general of all the patent searches. It is essentially a market survey that takes a broad, sweeping look at everything that has been done in a given art.

For a client who is contemplating entry into a particular field, the results of a State of the Art Search results may prove or disprove the advisability of such a decision. For a client currently active in a particular field, the State of the Art Search results can lay out the path that must be followed to design around the current art.

When faced with a technical problem, there is no better way of determining what solutions already exist than by looking at patents. A State of the Art Search allows a client to learn what technology already exists and then to build on it. A State of the Art Search will also allow a company to spot new competitors and to identify new technological trends.

In most cases, a State of the Art Search can save a client a great deal of time and money. Understanding what work has previously been done, what problems have been discovered and how they have been solved, who is active in the field of art, and the chronological development of their work can prevent a client from wandering up an expensive blind alley.

While a State of the Art Search tends to focus on recent activities, a Collection Search is a similar search with a more historical focus.

Establishing the State of the Art

A State of the Art Patent Search is a comprehensive review of all patent literature in a particular field. The goal is to form a big picture of the state of play in a defined technology field. It can also include all of the non-patent literature in a particular field. Another way of assessing the State of the Art and attaining a more visual indication of what is going on is a Patent Landscape Search.

Who needs a State of the Art Patent Search?

There are two (2) situations in which a State of the Art patent search is useful:

  • Entering a new field either through investment or acquisition
  • Determining research direction

Entering a New Field

A State of the Art Patent Search should be carried out before entering a new field so you have a clear picture of what are the latest developments and what areas of the field have been pursued previously – either through investment or acquisition. It can help determine the competitiveness of a particular field and the likelihood of long-term profitability.

Determining Research Direction

A State of the Art Patent Search can also help organisations already active in a particular area determine the most appropriate future direction for their research by understanding the latest developments in the field or by rethinking what has been tried in the past.

What to search in a State of the Art Patent Search

A State of the Art Patent Search must be wide enough to ensure it captures all relevant references in a particular field but not so wide that includes unrelated documents. Filament can help frame your State of the art patent search to try to ensure you do not miss any relevant references, while minimising the “noise” of irrelevant references.

Why State of the Art Patent Searches are a wise investment

Increasingly, corporate strategy is driven by IP strategy and you cannot formulate IP strategy without conducting an effective state of the art patent search. Smart organisations regularly conduct state of the art patent searches to check their bearings and ensure their current course is still the most likely to deliver the best outcome for shareholders and investors.

SOA vs. Patent Landscape

Legal support service providers may use these terms interchangeably. Both help guide strategy and give clients a competitive edge over other market players. Both have a broad scope that includes a comprehensive search and review of all patent and non-patent literature in the client has chosen segment.

The key difference between an SOA and a patent landscape lies in the depth or level of detail. A patent landscape is essentially a deeper analysis of an SOA search that includes visual representations of trends in relevant literature and technology.

At Aristocrat Market Research, we can customize our SOA reports based on your current needs. For instance, if search turns up a large number of references, we can provide the results along with the desired analysis in an easy-to-digest spreadsheet or in any format of your preference.


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