State of the Art search

Purpose & Use

State of the Art search (SOA) refers to information already existing in the public domain, be it in the form of patent, scientific literature or any existing product. The state of the art search is conducted to attain a comprehensive perspective of a particular technology area. This type of search can cover patents worldwide or from a particular geographical area, depending on interest. These searches are broad but not as broad as a landscape study, which often touches a lot of surfaces but seldom goes in-depth. In a state of the art search, we sufficiently narrow the surface area to be covered and go in-depth to answer some specific questions posed by business, R&D or legal teams regarding a particular technology. The aim of an SOA search is to have a bird’s eye view of the current standing of a specific technology area. Both the patent and scientific literature are inclusive in an SOA search.

Objective for a State of the Art search:

There are two major circumstances when a state of the art search is carried out:

  1. Entering into a new technology area:

    If your business is looking to set foot in, expand or invest in a whole new field, it’s beneficial to carry out an SOA search so as to have a clear picture of the ongoing developments, emerging trends, and the formerly explored concepts in the relevant technology area. This in turn can help determine relevant information either in favour or against any business decision you wish to undertake such as competitiveness, risk factors and profitability pertaining to the technology of interest.

  2. Narrow down the research & development pathway:

    A business actively working in a specific domain, the SOA studies can determine the most suitable future course for their research by analyzing the latest developments in the field or by revaluating the past inventions. It could also aid in designing a product in comparison to already existing prototypes.

Nowadays, every business strategy is motivated by an IP strategy, and you can’t frame an IP strategy without conducting an effective state of the art search. A State of the Art search also allows an organization to determine their current competitors, potential partners, analysis of past work in the relevant technology, emerging development learnings and current opportunities/threats to their business.

Difference between SOA & Landscape search:

Since both of these studies are utilized to direct business/research strategy and give the organization a competitive edge over their competitors, the terms are often used interchangeably. Both types of searches are carried out with a broader scope so as to form a comprehensive search encompassing analysis of all the patent and scientific literature in the selected technology area. However, the significant difference between an SOA and a patent landscape lies in the depth or level of detail of the entire study. Characteristically, an SOA is a subset of a patent landscape wherein landscape has a deeper analysis and contains graphical representations of the technology trends.

Process & Reporting

A State of the Art search is executed on a broader scale to ensure that it captures all the relevant references in a particular field, but not so wide that it ends up including unrelated documents. The search is conducted using a well-nested search string on commercial and open-source Patent/ NPL database to extract the relevant records. The said search strings are inclusive of semantic, foreign languages search in combination with CPC/ IPC/ ECLA/ US classes to fetch comprehensive results. The results thus obtained are analyzed by our researchers in two phases to shortlist relevant references from the accumulated data. Signicent’s report contains well categorized relevant records over an expert-built technology tree and corresponding technology trends. Our reports can help business, IP and R&D teams to infer answers to their queries and enable them to understand the latest research activities transpiring in the field of interest, assess their R&D activities and simplify the decision-making process.

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