Importance of a patent search

A patent search is the term given to the process of conducting thorough research to ascertain if an idea or invention seeking registration rights is in fact available and unique. Typically, a patent search will involve analyzing a patent database of all registered ideas and innovations to ensure said idea is not already on the database. When seeking a patent, it is vitally important you conduct a search, or enlist the services of a professional consultancy firm to perform a search on your behalf, prior to filing your application.

Reasons to perform a patent search

For individuals or companies that wish to patent their ideas or innovations, it is important to first conduct a patent search by researching the appropriate databases in the countries where you seek registration rights. Only where your idea is not registered on a patent database, and where it is unique and capable of being used for economic value, can it obtain rights.

Owners of ideas and inventions are always advised to conduct the patent search prior to filing their application for registration. This is because if the applicable intellectual property office (IPO) finds on their database that the idea is already patented, the application will be denied, and fee will be lost.

Even where your idea is found to closely resemble a patent on the official database, it is likely that the application for intellectual property protection will be refused.

A patent search is typically required in the following situations:

  • To ensure a patent is unique and available for registration, prior to spending time and money applying for patent protection and registration rights
  • Companies seeking to expand their product portfolio and invent a new product should conduct a search to avoid future infringement cases
  • Patent searches are also commonly performed for research purposes

Using a professional consultancy firm or attorney to perform a patent search on your behalf, courts will consider that to have demonstrated due diligence and acted in good faith if a case of patent infringement arises. The process of conducting a search can be complex to those who are not familiar with the application intellectual property database systems. It is therefore advised to enlist the professional services of an intellectual property attorney or consultancy firm that are experienced in registering and patents. The long process of patent application can be made significantly quicker with the help and guidance of a professional consultant.