Significance of Non-Patent Literature Search in IP Industry

The objective of a patent search is to look for patents or scientific literature that matches your patent search description. You have two ways to achieve the objective: patent literature search and non-patent literature search or NPL. There are some good reasons why you should invest time in these searches. First, as an inventor, you want to be sure of working on an unsolved problem statement. Otherwise, you will spend time on a problem statement that somebody has already solved. Thus, in this scenario, doing comprehensive patent search turns out to be important and beneficial.

Read this article until the end to know more benefits of non-patent literature search. Moreover, you’ll know stages to conduct non-patent literature search and how to do it.

Why to Conduct Non-Patent Literature Search

Being an organization or a small group of inventors, you have to do budgeting every now and then. However, you can’t cut down investing resources in research and development. Therefore, you have to be certain that you’re doing R&D in the right domain and direction. To leverage R&D, you should conduct patent literature search and non-patent literature search before doing R&D.

Many small and micro entities, for cost-cutting, only do patent literature search. However, it’s a wrong practice. If you want to do comprehensive search, you must include non-patent literature search as well in your patent search strategy.

Related Article: Why Choose Patent Filing Services?

When to Conduct Non-Patent Literature Search

You can do patent literature search and non-patent literature search at any stages of the development of your invention. There are no limits of doing prior-art search; you can do as many searches as you want to do. However, there are three stages where you should do non-patent literature search.

Prior to Research and Development

Before starting an R&D program, you must conduct patent and non-patent literature search. It’s has two major benefits. First, you save resources by doing comprehensive search. Second, it helps you in making an efficient plan of action for developmental phase of your invention.

After R&D or Before Filing a Patent Application

To get a patent means exhausting your resources. You clearly don’t want to invest in something that doesn’t give you good returns in the future. Thus, it’s important to do patent and non-patent literature search. Otherwise, the USPTO won’t grant you a patent in case of infringement.

Before Launching Your Invention on the Market

This stage is undoubtedly the most important stage. In this stage, you start exploiting your invention in form of a product. Thus, you probably have to use resources entirely so as to capture markets and gain customers’ trust. You don’t want to launch a product that is already present on markets with the same specifications or technology. In this case, you may face huge losses. Therefore, you don’t to skip non-patent literature search before launching your product.

How to Do Non-Patent Literature Search

Various search strategies are available to conduct non-patent literature search. First, you need to identify your domain and make a search strategy. You can start prior-art search on your own or hire a patent firm. The assistance of a patent firm eases the process to get a patent and lets you focus on your invention. Some free databases are available on the internet. You may use those databases to do preliminary search. Moreover, on the internet, some databases allow you to do free NPL search.

Here are some free databases that you may use for doing non-patent literature search.

Google Scholar  

We all know that Google is a massive search engine. It indexes every page available within its reach on the internet. Google Scholar is a product of Google. Just like Google, it’s a huge database of scientific literature, and it’s free. Also, it allows you to create a profile on the portal. You can set alerts for domains of your interest as well. After setting alerts, you get email notifications whenever someone publishes scientific literature related to your subscribed domains.


Escapenet is a patent search tool that is backed by EPO or European Patent Office. Apart from doing patent search, you can use it to do NPL search. As of now, the database has 120 million patent documents. Moreover, it’s free for public use.

IEEE Xplore

IEEE Xplore is a digital library where you can find tons of research papers and articles. You may access five million documents on the digital library currently. The scientific literature and papers available on IEEE Xplore are related to electrical engineering, computer science, and electronics.

Web of Science Group

Web of Science Group is a subsidiary of Clarivate. It’s an independent organization which is also a hub of scientific journals and publications. You may do your NPL search on Web of Science Group without paying a penny.

Various Digital Libraries

We can’t cover each major digital library in this article. However, besides these previously-mentioned libraries, we have digital libraries such as National Center for Biotechnology Information and National Library of Medicine. If your search involves medicine and biology, you may check out NCBI and NLM.

Apart from free scientific databases and digital libraries, other paid databases and digital libraries are also available on the internet. You don’t want to ignore those small independent digital libraries and databases when doing comprehensive search.

Note: If you have budget to use paid databases, go for it.

Related Article: How to Avail Best Patent Search Services?

See How We Work

Patent Drafting Catalyst is an established patent firm that has delivered quality services to clients looking for patents. The amalgamation of our years of experience with skillful patent drafters helps us deliver desirable outputs. We constantly strive for perfection and betterment. Thus, we have successfully completed various projects of our clients based around the world. Moreover, we use state-of-the-art tool to maximize the output.

Making an order with us is simple and hassle-free. Moreover, you may make a request to see our sample work. You may visit our service page and see pricing – Patent Drafting Catalyst Services.

If you want us to do a non-patent literature search for you, please visit this link – Prior-Art Search.

Other Related Articles:

Patent Watch: Why Do I Need It?

How to Conduct a Patent Search: A Quick Guide

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