Generally speaking, it is possible to protect the ornamentation and shape of an article. However, it will depend on the jurisdiction as to whether this falls within the genus of patent law or a separate branch of intellectual property known as a design right. There are a number of ways you can search within PatSnap. If you are aware of the Locarno Classification for registered designs published after 1968, then you can enter in the classification number or add in the relevant codes to a Field Search using the Classification search. Alternatively, you can filter by Patent type or by Locarno Classification Class/Sub Class from the search results page. However, the test of infringement is based on the overall impression created by the object and a comparison with the alleged infringing object and prior art. It is therefore important to look at the visual aspects when determining your risk rather than the wording in the claims section.
Image search on PatSnap allows you to search for design patents, registered design rights, and utility models in the same place by entering a search query or by uploading an image or multiple images. You can upload a JPG and PNG image up to 4MB from your personal device and PatSnap will analyze the visual features of the image and return any global designs that share visual similarity.
Alternatively, you can also create image searches directly from the images in a patent.
This feature can enable you to upload two-dimensional and three-dimensional diagrams or photographs of prototypes to determine the likelihood of infringing another design.
To perform a text-based search, you need to create your query. You can do this using the basic Boolean of OR, AND, and NOT along with your keywords. Type your query into the search bar and click the search button.
Just like is the case in "Field Search", the keyword helper is available in "Image search". You can use it when you need a little help coming up with search terms.
To perform a search using an image instead of text, you can click on the Upload button and select a file from your personal device. You can also Drag & Drop an image into the box on the left-hand side of the search bars, or copy and paste an image.
You can upload up to 4 different images, where one will become your main image. The main image will have a greater weighting in determining search results compared to the other images used.
Once uploaded images icons for editing, deleting, and replacing the main image appear.
Clicking edit allows the user to rotate and crop the image. The pen tool allows the user to draw on the image, highlighting an area they would like to specifically search. The reset tool removes all changes made to the image.
After you conduct an Image search, the results view allows you to compare the visual aspects of the design side-by-side. If you are interested in a particular result, and you want to perform a new image search based on it, just hover the mouse pointer over the image and two options will appear. "Image Search" and "Smart Recommendation".
Clicking on the "Image Search" button, will open a new tab with results based on the similarity of the new image being used. Alternatively, you can click on "Smart Recommendation". This will also open a new tab, but the results in it will also consider keywords contained within the text of the patent from which the image used for the new search came from. We call this "Search by Concept". "Smart Recommendation" is not available for Utility Model searches.
If all you want to do is to take a closer look at the patent document from which an image comes from, you can click anywhere else on the thumbnail. This will open the Patent View.
It is possible to sort your results by "Most Relevant", "Latest Application", "Oldest Application, "Latest Publication", or "Oldest Publication", by using the sorting menu located at the top right corner of the screen.
You are also able to translate the patent's text shown in the results page and turn keyword stemming on by clicking on the "Settings" button, found beside the sorting menu at the top right corner of the screen.
Additionally, if you select one or multiple results, a menu will pop up on the lower right corner of the screen. This menu will give you the option to Export your results, or to Save them to a Workspace. It is possible to select all of the patents within the results page by clicking on "Select this page", also found at the top right corner of the screen.
You can also refine your search in a similar way to what you can do in the Field Search, which is found on the left-hand side of the screen. Unlike the Field Search, finding similar patents on Image Search is based on the visual similarity of the figures in the patent document rather than keyword commonality.
Our data coverage includes 94 jurisdictions, it encompasses design patents, and utility models in major jurisdictions like the US and centrally registered designs in the EU with the Office for Harmonization in the Internal Market (OHIM). You should check with your regional intellectual property office whether your country supports design patents or industrial designs as the process for registration may be different.