• last updated : 17 April, 2023

What is Patent Invalidation Search?

Category: Blog
Patent Invalidation Search

Looking for patents is similar in some ways to searching for other kinds of technical literature, like articles in widely known scientific publications or in professional and academic journals. However, several aspects of searching for patents like patent invalidation search or prior art search differ sufficiently from searching for traditional literature that the activity necessitates a specialized method, mentality, and approach. 

Searching for patents differs from searching for traditional publications in several ways, such as the nature of the patent documents themselves, how they relate to one another, and the unique way that patent databases are constructed. 

The article discusses the psychology of patent searching, such as the ideas, mindset, techniques or tactics, plans, and challenges encountered during the patent invalidation search. Furthermore, the article emphasizes how XLSCOUT’s AI-based tools are the best solution for your patent invalidation search or any other form of patent search. 

What is Patent Invalidation Search?   

Opposition or patent invalidation searches are performed to locate patent and non-patent literature which can nullify an invention’s claims and render them obvious and non-novel. An invalidity search is a thorough examination of relevant prior art after a patent has been awarded. The main goal of the invalidity search is to find relevant prior art that the examiner may have overlooked and that may render the patent invalid. 

An invalidity search can also be used to validate patent claims. If a search for invalidity generates negative results, it means that the patent’s claims are distinctive and innovative, and they are not subject to the statutory exceptions to patentability. It also establishes the patent’s strength and robustness. A strong patent portfolio increases the likelihood of generating revenue through licensing and thus is useful when acquiring a company. 

The prior art search conducted during the early stages of patenting is distinct from the patent invalidation search. A patent invalidity search focuses on the claim language rather than the invention’s broad idea and concept. 

Why not Limit Yourself to Keyword Searches? 

When asked to describe their invention, an inventor will instinctively use words that explain what the invention accomplishes, how it is built, or even its name. The temptation is strong to limit your search to specific terms. There are, however, a few pitfalls to avoid. 

The issue with keyword searches is that they can occasionally be confusing. Take the term “bridge,” for example. It could mean a variety of things depending on the context. A bridge is a structure that spans a river or a chasm in the ground. Even then, it could be a road bridge, a canal bridge, or a via duct-style rail bridge (aqueduct). Suspension, cantilever, cable-stayed, and box girder are all possible bridge designs. 

A bridge can also be used to support, tune, and tense a stringed instrument. Violins, guitars, violas, lutes, and other instruments are examples. A bridge is a type of dental implant that can be utilized to fill gaps between teeth. A bridge can be a component of an electrical circuit. Furthermore, it is possible that terminology varies by region. In the field of fossil fuel combustion, the term “boiler” is used in Europe, but the term “furnace” is used in the United States. 

The Use of Synonyms

Second, synonyms are frequently used, particularly in chemistry. A chemist, for example, will instantly recognize the molecular formula CH3COOH. Ethanoic acid (systematic name), acetic acid (trivial name), ethan-1-carboxylic acid, and various aliases are its textual equivalents. A non-scientific person, on the other hand, will undoubtedly recognize “vinegar” as a solution of ethan-1-carboxylic acid in dihydrogen monoxide (water). 

Third, for the sake of legal certainty, drafters often use customized and intentionally obscure terminology, nomenclature, vocabulary, and grammar, and it is occasionally possible to hide patents from being discovered. In a patent application, a pen may be referred to as a “writing instrument,” whereas a tape measure may be referred to as a “linear comparison device.” 

Creativity of Patent Writers

When selecting keywords, consider the creativity of the patent writers. When using keywords, you must be aware that there could be multiple ways of spelling a single word; for example, “analyze” and “analyse.” Keep in mind that databases will almost certainly contain misspelled words. Regardless of what the built-in browser spell-checkers warn you about, there will be times when you want to search for “fluorescent” rather than “flourescent,” or “receiver” rather than “reciever.” 

Furthermore, patents are written in a specific language. Along with overly complicated or specialized technical phrases, patent writers invent new words. In patents, the words “more than one,” “a few,” or “many” are rarely used, but “a plurality” is always used in their place. 

Similarly, new adjectives are coined to describe the characteristics of an invention, such as “slideably” (US20050105855). There are also obvious discrepancies, such as “detachably attached” (EP1211368), where a typical author might have written “removable.” The phrase “Device for eliminating stray radiation” in its native language, when translated into English as “useless radiation preventer,” does not entirely reflect the invention’s intended meaning. Translations can also have unintended consequences. 

Patent Classification 

As of now, it is obvious that the number of patent publications is massive and steadily increasing. This collection of publications would be impossible to navigate without an indexing or classification system. As it helps in identifying the most interesting and relevant patents.

The major patent offices have implemented various classification schemes that are recognized globally. A novice may find these classification systems overwhelming. Consider entering a public library as an example. Various stacks with labels such as “Science,” “Engineering,” “Art,” “Humanities,” and so on may be present. Assume that the “Science” stack is divided into sections for “Physics,” “Chemistry,” “Biology,” “Mathematics,” and so on. 

You follow the “Physics” aisle since you’re interested in the topic and discover that it contains a variety of bookcases. “Molecular and Atomic physics”, “Thermodynamics,” “Magnetism and Electricity,” and other subjects are covered. The “High Energy Particle Physics” bookcase has shelves labeled “Fermions,” “Neutrinos,” “Muons,” and so on. You find the Higgs particle book you’ve been looking for on the “Boson” shelf. Another categorization system that many library patrons may be familiar with is the Dewey Decimal system for categorizing books. 

The patent classification hierarchy is similar. Patent classification is a quick method for locating relevant information by utilizing the ingenuity of the examiners who first classified patent documents. There are several classification systems in use, including the EPO’s and the USPTO’s Cooperative Patent Classification (CPC) system. As well as the WIPO’s International Patent Classification System (IPC). The key to using any patent categorization scheme is to find the classification term that best fits your search. Use that term in your search, and if you get a lot of results, narrow it down with more keywords or search terms. 

Citations: Forward and Backward Citations 

Patent publications, like traditional scientific papers, include citations to either support or refute the authors’ points. Citation analysis and the topic of citations are both difficult but extremely effective. 

Patent examiners determine whether the invention described in the application meets the criteria of novelty, inventiveness, and utility. Examiners conduct pertinent literature searches and write a brief report summarizing their findings and recommendations regarding the patentability of the invention as filed. 

These reports, known as “search reports,” frequently have only eight or nine citations. Searchers should keep in mind that these few citations are the closest prior art that the examiners have found. These examples are chosen to show whether the examiner considers the invention to be innovative or inventive. Citations are very detailed. The cited source’s exact images or paragraphs correspond to the exact relevant claims of the patent to which they refer.

Technology and innovation are ever-changing. New patent applications are filed on a daily basis for both incremental advancements of existing technology and disruptive innovations. Consequently, these applications render previous technologies obsolete.

Cited vs Citing Documents

Consider a published patent application (PA) from three or four years ago. It was released at the time, along with a search report which listed the referred documents, denoted by the letters B1, B2, and so on. These cited sources are known as “backward citations” because they had to be published before PA was released. We assume that technology has advanced since PA was published, and that subsequent published patent applications have acknowledged PA in their search reports. These referring patent applications with the prefixes F1, F2, and so on are referred to as “forward citations” because they must be published after PA. 

PA, its cited documents (backward citations), and its citing documents (forward citations) are all linked as the set of nearest prior art. Find a patent application and read it, along with its cited and citing documents, to get a sense of close prior art right away. This is a very important concept. Remember that the field of citing documents is constantly evolving, and that freshly submitted patent applications may always cite previously published ones. 

Patent Invalidation Search Report 

After conducting an extensive invalidation patent search on the subject patent, a searcher will choose a small number of citations. These citations can be used against the subject patent (patent to be invalidated).

Each citation on the short list has had its subject and credibility thoroughly investigated. To invalidate a patent, the innovation must violate laws established by multiple jurisdictions. 

Following a thorough analysis, the shortlisted search recognition and the finest prior arts are mapped in detail. The invalidation search report includes a thorough examination of the best prior art in relation to the subject patent’s claims. The invalidation search report allows clients to better understand the prior art that has been discovered or the justification for their potential application. 

XLSCOUT’s AI-based tools offer prior art search reports based on a client’s needs, expectations, and budget. 

Challenges Faced During the Process 

1. Challenge: There are no publicly available patents or pending patent applications.

Solution: XLSCOUT’s AI-based tools provide in-depth prior art analysis, including patents, research publications, and products on various paid and non-paid databases.

2. Challenge: The latest AI and machine learning-based analysis technologies are not integrated.

Solution: XLSCOUT’s searching tools mimic the actions of a skilled searcher using proprietary algorithms, AI, and machine learning techniques. Among the various data sets are patent data, standard essential patents, non-patent literature, reassignment data, corporate data, and examination data. These tools combine machine learning and human learning to produce the best results. Humanizing machine learning intelligence is the foundation for most analysis, insights, and well-informed decisions. 


Patent invalidation searches and patent monitoring are the most recent tools for protecting both the patent and any potential for future revenue generation. An invalidity search can help both weaken and strengthen your own patent by demonstrating its uniqueness and non-obviousness. As a result, the patent portfolio increases in value. Patent Monitoring, on the other hand, monitors newly published and issued patents in the same technological field. This aids in the development of a strategy for reaping the greatest financial benefits from the patent for the longest period of time. Anyone who wants to survive and flourish in this competitive technical field must rely on these searching procedures.

Our Methodology  

Invalidator+ by XLSCOUT is an artificial intelligence (AI) enabled app that allows users to quickly conduct a first-pass invalidity search by focusing on specific competitors’ patent claims. Users can supervise the machine by selecting claims of interest and technical variations/keywords after entering the subject patent number. The Invalidator+ tool provides a list of relevant prior art results along with an automated invalidation search report. 

This AI-powered patent invalidation search tool combines intelligent patent parameters such as classification, citations, assignees, and so on with Patent Para-BERT technology to generate a quick patent invalidation search report that uncovers results based on contextual and expert parameters. Invalidator+ also utilizes Reinforcement to provide accurate prior art or invalidation analysis. 

Benefits of using XLSCOUT’s Invalidator+    

  • Easy-to-use interface 
  • Quick first pass invalidity search by entering the patent number 
  • Fully automated first invalidation search report 
  • Analysis concentrating on specific claims 
  • High Accuracy with Reinforcement Learning 
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