Patent watch refers to a continuing process of monitoring patent grants for the purpose of identifying any patents which are relevant to a specific business or investor. It doesn’t really make sense to have a daily patent watch as it will not be cost effective and will take up too many resources. A patent watch service will for instance, provide monthly, quarterly or six monthly monitoring services according to the specific criteria as set by the client. Companies can also run an in-house patent watch and have their technical staff assess the lists of patents for any patents of interest.

When is the Patent relevant?

If a patent comes up in one of the patent watches that are related to the core business of the company, it will be deemed relevant. If the company produces a similar item, the management will want to know in order to avoid infringement lawsuits. The company will then as a preventative measure issue a clearance statement to show that they have taken all the required steps in ensuring that they do not infringe on the patent rights of the owner regarding the newly issued patent. There may be instances where the company may have infringed on the newly issued patent. In such instances the company can either attempt to get a patent licence from the patentee or bring modifications to their products to ensure that infringement doesn’t take place.

A third alternative is to challenge the validity of the newly issued patent. The company can conduct a patent search to establish whether there are any instances of prior art associated with the patent and if found, can use the evidence to support their proceedings regarding the request for another examination of the said patent.