Researching skills can always be enhanced by quality information and education. Most researchers have an area of expertise that allows them to succeed in their field of choice, but anyone can find relevant prior art, regardless of whether they are an expert in the field or not. Pushing boundaries improves on general researching skills and open doors that might have previously been thought of as unfeasible. If you’re hesitant on moving outside your comfort zone, here are a few tips to help you get started.
Think Outside the Box
In fact, throw the old box out. Build a new one. Then think outside of it. Researchers can often slide into a set routine regarding their search strategy. They participate in the same kinds of Studies, using the same sources, and as a result find the same types of evidence and the same list of references. However, reexamining personal researching strategies may be a good way to think of new ways to improve search results. To start, compare your research process to the one developed by Article One and AOP Researchers. When choosing a study, try branching out to ones with an electrical engineering focus, instead of constantly researching computer-based patents. Success may not be immediate, but after learning what to look for in new technologies, and where to look for them, any researcher can improve on their scope of abilities.
Use New Resources
Knowing where to find good prior art is a key aspect to any Study. There are many basic resources that are consistent sources for prior art, but prior art can be found anywhere. Unique experiences can allow researchers to think of resources that others may not consider. Was there a roommate in college that wrote a thesis paper that pertains to the Study? Or an article from a magazine in the doctor’s office? Our blog post on searching science and technology magazines is just one way to start finding more unique and valuable prior art in places that may not have been obvious before. Reach out and use these personal incidents to your advantage. Non-patent literature can be the most valuable to a patent search, so expand your search beyond general patent searches to catalogs, newsletters, thesis papers, and even comic strips (see our previous post on Donald Duck).
Network with Other Researchers
Forums can be amazing tools for researchers. They are a great way to network and get tips from the patent researching community on prior art searching. Other researchers can help organize thoughts, assist on getting through a block, or prevent hitting dead ends. Forums can consist of multiple boards, ranging from topics about patent research and education to industry news. In addition, technology-specific forums can lead to existing discussions about the technology or patent in question. Forums may be a perfect way to begin pushing your boundaries and realizing your full potential.
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Orignal image by timetrax23 on Flickr.