Patent searching by inventor(s) can be as challenging as when searching by numbers. This is because names are not standardized or controlled across patent publications or in open source patent tools like the ones we are using in this workshop.
Name searching challenges include:
Some commercial patent databases do attempt to address these issues by mapping or linking name variants to a single entity. By controlling for these name variants, it's easier to find all patents associated with a specific inventor or assignee.
Patent searching by assignee(s) can be challenging for many of the same reasons we've identified for inventor searches - but what's worse, the assignee can change. Ownership of a patent can be transferred to another person or business, even at the application stage.
The USPTO requires the change in ownership to be recorded and this information is searchable in a special database.