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Patent database, a useful tool for our research

Last year, I attended a course about patent and utility models, thereafter, I realized that patent database contains also huge information as journal database, and we can freely use patented inventions for our research and private use (commercially forbidden). Previously, we were utilizing google scholar for searching scientific publications which is hardly containing the relevant patents. It is possible to use alternative databases (such as Espacenet) as some professional search engines have more detailed classification. Usually, we can cite the patent publications in our scientific articles like below:

Davidovits, Joseph. "Mineral polymers and methods of making them." U.S. Patent No. 4,349,386. 14 Sep. 1982.

Even sometimes we are planning to start a business action by using patent. However, it is firstly important to understand what Intellectual Property Rights (IP or IP Rights) is.

           Figure 1. Concept of IP

At the very beginning, it is recommended to keep in mind is the definition of IPR which is the right to exclude all others (i.e. people who declare no ownership) from the commercial usage of the invention. The patent makes the negotiation freer, and the investors interested with your project and resulting in a mutual win such as getting money and credibility. The process of getting patented is not an easy journey, the typical route is shown as below.

Figure 2. Process of publishing the patent

The application of patent is quite similar as submitting an article to a journal which is a complicated process.

It is better to know the language of Patent, which is mostly functional description such as Pen (writing instrument), LED (photo-transmitting device) and the more general the more preferred. The structure of a patent is depicted below:


Figure 3. Structure of a patent

Usually, we can start reading with the title of the patent, however, it might be quite representative of the content including its novelty and functionality, where we cannot obtain the real details of the product. The abstract gives us more information about the gist of the patent which can be also general, and the reader might not learn the scope of the invention at this stage. The patent has description part which is informational and states the invention clearly; therefore, the readers can get to know the construction and features of the invention completely. Sometimes, it also indicates the state of the art and background of related scope. Flowsheet, schematic implication, and figures are rather useful to help us to draw the scope of the invention.

Figure 4. layout of a patent (left), a schematic view of the CO2 supercritical vessel for testing cement CO2 resistance (right).

As show in the figure (from the patent), a schematic view of the CO2 supercritical vessel for test of CO2 resistant cement in which 1A (cores crown), 1B (cores crown), 15-viton slice or slices, 11-first fluid, and 10-second fluid. We can get a crystal scope of such testing device for carbon dioxide storage. (This might be hard for reader who does not have the background of geopolymer or cement, mostly you can find the schematic implication part of the patent which you are interested and is relative with your research.)

Moreover, the claims section is the most important part where more clear and precise details were supplied. For example (US4349386), the chemical composition of geopolymer, weight fraction, physical properties. Furthermore, the parameters like elemental ratio, temperature, viscosity, water binder ratio are accurately listed.

Figure 5. Screen shoot of the patent

I hope that you can find suitable resources which could assist your research and enlarge your idea pool.  -Thank you so much for the patient reading and all the best for your study.


Here is the list of search engines for patent:

Espacenet http://worldwide.espacenet.com/?locale=en_EP

PatentInspiration https://app.patentinspiration.com/#

PatentScope http://www.wipo.int/patentscope/en/

Google Patents http://www.google.com/patents


Barlet-Gouedard, Véronique, Benedicte Zusatz-Ayache, and Olivier Porcherie. "Geopolymer composition and application for carbon dioxide storage." U.S. Patent No. 7,846,250. 7 Dec. 2010.

Davidovits, Joseph. "Mineral polymers and methods of making them." U.S. Patent No. 4,349,386. 14 Sep. 1982.