• When clients need prior art to invalidate a patent cited in a cease-and-desist letter;
  • When clients have an idea which they want to patent and are not sure if it is novel;
  • When clients want to profile the technology field wherein a company operates (Freedom to Operate);
  • Construction of claim charts comparing rival technologies across multiple patents.

Michael O’Keeffe has been conducting patent searches since 1987 when he was a practicing Patent Examiner at the Irish Patent Office. Later, he worked for 12 years at Derwent as a Japanese Country Manager and participated in multiple discussions and symposia on patent searching.

Since 2010, Mike has worked as a freelance searcher on Article One Partners (AOP, Now part of RWS) and was awarded for participating in/winning 76 public competitions to find patent-invalidating prior art.

Mike not only searches the full text of Japanese patents in Japanese on the JPO website (Backlog to 1963), but also searches the full text of Japanese utility models which often cover minor improvements in or combinations of technology, e.g. the SONY Walkman.


The following is a list of AOP studies where Mike was the lead provider of invalidating prior art.

  • Method for Stopping and Starting an Engine (Ford Motor Company) - AOP Study #312
  • Automobile Roof Panel (General Motors Corp.) - AOP Study #501
  • Semiconductor Manufacturing: Method of Making A Mosfet (Micron Corp) - AOP Study #463
  • Dynamic Power Management Device for Solid State Memory - AOP Study #437
  • Thermally Conductive LED Structure - AOP Study #788
  • Telephone with ringer silencer screening feature - AOP Study #2727
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