Patents, in addition to being a mechanism for the protection of inventions, are a fundamental source of technological information.

There are three basic types of patent documents:

-The application.
-The patent granted.
-The report on the state of the art.

The application describes the invention as filed by the inventor with a national or regional patent office. Most offices publish applications within 18 months of filing, before knowing whether the patent is going to be granted or not as stated in article.

The granted patent is the document that describes the invention as it will be protected, after the application has gone through all the stages of the granting process. During the process, the application may be subject to modifications.

The state of the art report is a document written by the patent office for each application. The report contains citations from other patent documents or other literature (scientific and technical articles, catalogs, monographs, doctoral theses, etc.), which, at the examiner’s discretion, are related to the application in order to determine its novelty and activity inventiveness. In most cases, this report is published associated with the application, although it is also possible to find it as a separate document.

From the legal point of view, the most important document is that of the granted patent, in so far as the claims contained therein are those that define the scope of patent protection.

But, from the technical point of view, the most important document is the application document, since it is the first to disclose the content of the invention, and together with the report on the state of the art they provide information on its novelty, inventive activity and on the state of the art in which it affects. There are agencies that can help you out when you are just starting out as an inventor.

Taking into account these differences between patent documents is important when determining the relevant search strategy, according to the objectives of exploitation of the information, one or the other will be used.

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