Is it possible to read a patent in 3 minutes?

Last week our customer success team organized a full crowded webinar where I presented how to read a patent in 3 minutes. The attendees were patent managers, R&D managers and engineers, technical project managers and IP-coordinators.

The workload for an R&D engineer or a scientist to go through and analyse many patents per week often takes too many hours of not doing R&D activities. For companies with multiple R&D teams this can easily exceed 100 hours per year. Therefore, the core question during our webinar was: can this workload be reduced to a few hours per month without missing important patents?

The reason why many companies are monitoring their competitor’s patents and technology patents is to secure their freedom to operate.

The patents are, on the one hand, used by the company to avoid re-inventing the wheel from a technology perspective and to analyse what their closest competitor is currently developing. On the other hand, captured relevant patents are also used to secure that no one is infringing on the company’s rights.

Regardless of how you want to use such information in your daily work, once you have a process in place and you receive such information you need to find a way to analyse a patent in a very short time. Yes, 3 minutes sounds very optimistic but you can make the process much more efficient when analysing a patent by:

– knowing your responsibility
Technical vs legal assessment, as an R&D engineer you are requested to make a technical assessment. There is no need to deeply investigate and judge each word of the claims.

– asking yourself if you are the right person
Ask experts for their opinion, most probably you have technical experts in your organisation! Don’t allow yourself to get lost in too detailed descriptions.

– and do not re-invent the wheel
Has someone analysed the patent before within your organisation. If that is the case see if you can re-use the assessment.

Once you take these three points into consideration you need to have a digital monitoring process that can support you and your team with:

– Showing patent family representative so you only capture the document once for your technical assessment (title, summary, figures)
– Highlighting important words
– Providing one-click translations when capturing non-English patents
– Extended bibliographic data such as legal status, claims and description

Three good reasons why you should digitalize your monitoring process:

– You can save multiple hours per week by using an appropriate patent management tool where patents are captured automatically based on your needs.
– An easy to handle patent management tool can give you relevant information for your technical assessment with one-click. 
– You can always stay one step ahead of your competitors if you know what they are exactly developing. Work with a complete patent collection. If your competitor is e.g. from China you need to make sure that you perform searches in Chinese data.


One last thing, if you see a patent application that should not be granted you can always file an observation or in several countries, you can up to nine months after publication that a patent has been granted give a notice of opposition. Therefore, always monitor relevant patents for legal changes and discuss with your patent attorney what to do.

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My name is Viktor Rudolf, I am helping technology-driven companies to unleash the power of patents.

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