3 Questions You Should Ask Before Using a Crowdsourced Patent Search Service

In recent years, many new services have sprung up offering crowdsourced patent searches. For some, these patent search competitions can sound like an appealing, cost-effective method for performing a patent search. Here are 3 important questions you should ask before considering a crowdsourced patent search competition:



1. Do the contestants have expertise or training in searching?

Crowdsourced patent search services are pitted competition style, offering a cash prize to anyone who submits the best search results. Sometimes, the competition requires previous knowledge or well-developed experience to compete. Sometimes. Generally, anyone can be eligible to enter the competition, with little to no training. Unlike specialized search firms and teams, they are also not required to perform the search according to any particular standard.

2. Where are the contestants based?

At first glance it may seem like a cost-effective alternative to a professional patent search firm, but sending your cherished innovation abroad to individuals who may not be properly trained can prove costly. Contestants may not know the nuanced details of the U.S. patent classification system, leading to confusing results or prior art slipping through the cracks.

3. How long will it take?

To increase the chances of attracting enough contestants and increasing their likelihood of finding the perfect prior art, competitions often take as much as six weeks to complete. But business moves quickly, and often times success can hinge on your speed-to-market. Maybe you need your patent quickly. Are you able to wait that long with potential revenue at stake?


When the viability of your business or innovation is at stake, make sure you follow the best path for your success.