Patentability Search: How we Repeatedly Find a Needle in a Haystack

 In Case Studies, Patent Prosecution

It was another beautiful day at GreyB. I was reading this article on the Intel connection of Apple watch when an email landed on my Outlook, sent by my operation manager. The subject of the email communicated that I was going to work on a patentability search.

I love patentability searches, not because I’ve expertise in the area or I find them easy to conduct, but because it helps me to make my contribution in making the patent world unambiguous. I get an opportunity to determine whether a patent deserves to get granted or not. And yes, I also get an opportunity to save efforts of an inventor and help make him better decisions.

We, here at GreyB, handle a range of projects on a daily basis. Some are relatively easy while others could be a tough nut to crack. However, once in a blue moon, there lands a project on our desk, which seems insurmountable at that point in time.

This morning, the patentability search on a light beam projector that landed on the runway of my workstation, later proved to be one such project. Just to let you know, other than the working of the apparatus, no information was shared from the client’s end.

God gives his hardest fight to his toughest soldiers. With that thought, my team and I got down to work. We performed a preliminary search. The technology came out to be one among the latest areas of research. To top it all, there was not much material available online.

Needless to say, our search process began with a comprehensive analysis on Thomson, Orbit and other free databases including Google Patents. We made multiple relevant key strings like light projection, beam launching, etc., and fed them into Thomson/Orbit. But to no avail.

The next avenue that we explored was of non-patent literature. We again performed a comprehensive analysis, but like in the previous case, it bore no fruit. We were back to square once again, and with less time left in our hands.

We decided to identify other application areas of the light projection, which were not thought of by the inventor. This again is a process which we follow here at GreyB. We identify all the application areas where the invention could probably be used and try to figure if there is any prior art that exists in other areas. However, as I’ve mentioned already, other than working of the invention, nothing was shared with us.

Moreover, while conducting the conventional search, application areas such as lasers, cameras, projectors, polarizer, displays, et cetera had already been explored.

These factors and the ticking of the clock – which was the sign of an approaching deadline – in tandem were making this tough nut even tougher to crack. The situation reminded me of the famous quote:

Tough times never last, but tough people do. – Dr. Robert.

It was time to get back to the whiteboard. We brainstormed – our favorite session – and decided to explore the most recent developments in the field. A brainstorming session and a few hours of search resulted in a list of some new application areas where this invention could probably be applied.

Head mounted display, Holographic optic technology, and see-through display were some of the technologies in our list. Guess what, we explored these technologies and identified not one but multiple prior art which were relevant.


Conventional search strategies don’t always work and when they don’t, we start looking for alternate routes. It is a custom at GreyB to never look at two searches in the same way and we take pride in providing our clients tailor-made solutions.

If you are looking for a search partner who’d find prior art no matter how difficult the extent of the search, you should give us a try. Trust me, You won’t be disappointed.

Authored by – Sushant Kumar, Senior Research Analyst, Concept Hacking

Click to get smart search strategies right in your inbox

Leave a Comment

Contact Us

Got Questions! Queries! Send us an email.

Not readable? Change text. captcha txt