Patent Searching & Invention Assessment

How to check if an Invention is new – Patent Search?

Before seeking patent protection it is worthwhile to check if your invention is in fact new. This is because all patentable inventions must be considered at least novel over the prior art (documents or public disclosures) which existed prior to a patent being filed. At first instance, it is useful to conduct a general Google search. You may also like to search Google Patents  or Google scholar. However, simply because your invention does not appear to be disclosed on Google does not mean it is new.

The next level of complexity is conducting a search of some of the patent databases such as the Australian Patent Office Database, the US Patent Database and the European Patent Office Database. We generally recommend starting with the European Patent Office Database as this database is typically the easiest to use. Searching can be conducted by keyword searching such as “foldable box” or, as is the preference of the patent office, by classification (these are classification codes).  Searching by classification is far more complex and should be conducted by an experienced Patent Attorney or Patent Searcher.

Novelty Patent Searching

Novelty searching is the more formal term used in the industry for checking if an idea is new.  There are different levels of complexity of novelty searching that can be conducted. The simplest novelty searches are usually key word based.

However, a comprehensive novelty search should be based on a carefully designed patent search strategy which is based on the patent technological classification. This type of classification searching is similar to how the Australian Patent Office conducts searches when your patent application is examined.

Our preferred way of searching is to file a provisional patent and have the Australian Patent Office conduct a preliminary search via an International-Type Search. This provides you with a clear indication from the Australian Patent Office whether or not your idea is new – it’s also worth keeping in mind that potential investors or business associates tend to place far more weight on a search by the Patent Office.

Clearance Patent Searching (Freedom to Operate)

A clearance search is a search conducted to check whether your product or process infringes another’s intellectual property rights including patents and designs. Clearance searches focus on in-force patents and must be undertaken for each jurisdiction in which you wish to exploit (make, hire, sell) your invention. Accordingly, clearance searches are quite distinct from Novelty Searches which taken into account all previously published documents from anywhere in the world.

Whether or not you or your business chooses to seek patent protection, you may still infringe another parties patent right. If you are unsure, please contact The Patent Co and we can assist you with clearance searches to know where you stand.

Patent Searching Services

We offer a comprehensive range of patent searching and assessment services including:

  • Preliminary Patent Searching;
  • Invention Patentability Assessment (performed after Preliminary Patent Search);
  • Full Novelty Searching; and
  • Clearance (Freedom-to-Operate) Searches.