I was recently exploring the patent search capabilities of www.Boliven.com and thought I’d share the results of a quick review of recent patents including the phrase “printed electronics”. Simply typing the term “printed electronics” (including the quotes) into the search box returns over 3400 results. These include patents and applications from US, Europe, Japan, Korea and the PCT filings. To quickly get to just the patents you can use the analyze function and the top chart is an overview of the patents granted by year.
Clicking on the yellow sector of the pie chart takes you to the summary list of granted patents. This list can be further refined by selecting only patents published in 2011 from the left hand filter options. This reduces your list to the 57 patents granted this year. The results are sorted by relevance and the third one in the list caught my eye and the brief summary showing where the term “printed electronics” appears in the text is reproduced below.
I found the ease with which you can scroll down the results and quickly get a feel for the most relevant patents highly valuable. You can access the full text of any patent and follow up on the detail. The full result set can be exported or saved to a list for sharing with colleagues or for working on later.
To complete the story here is the first claim from the Soligie Inc. patent I found:
1. A process for creating electrical circuits or circuit elements using imaged gravure printing plates, the process comprising: obtaining a gravure printing plate imaged by etching a substantially flat plate; mounting the imaged gravure printing plate to a printing apparatus, wherein the imaged gravure printing plate comprises an image configured to create an electrical circuit or circuit element with features of 10 microns or less, and wherein the printing apparatus comprises a cylinder, and a carriage adapted to be moved into contact with the cylinder, wherein a substrate to be printed is mounted to one of either the cylinder or the carriage, and the imaged gravure printing plate is mounted to the other of the cylinder or the carriage; applying a material to be deposited on the substrate to the imaged gravure printing plate wherein the material is present in the etched areas of the imaged gravure printing plate; directly contacting the substrate with the imaged gravure printing plate to transfer the material from the imaged gravure printing plate to the substrate; and removing the substrate from contact with the imaged gravure printing plate, wherein the material forms a first patterned layer of an electrical circuit or circuit element on the substrate corresponding to the image of the imaged gravure printing plate.
Hopefully this has given you a brief insight into how easily the modern patent search tools can help you find relevant prior art or competitors’ patents to inform your own business or technology strategy. Of course if you wanted to do a thorough analysis you would need to construct a much more comprehensive search term and use a combination of keywords and patent codes to be sure of identifying all the relevant material in the databases. Post a comment if you want any more details on fine tuning this type of search.