Prior Art Searching
If you need to do some preliminary searching to give a first indication as to whether an invention is new, there are a number of useful public databases that can be searched (e.g. by keyword), and we encourage you to do this. Links to some of the more popular databases are set out at the foot of this page. We can then review your search strategy and results and these will help us focus our discussion with you over what is considered new and inventive. We can then advise whether further searching is worthwhile or whether to proceed with a patent application and rely on the results of subsequent searches conducted by the UK, German, European or other Patent Office.
Patent databases can also be searched by name, which is useful if you think a particular company or individual may have published a patent application.
But beware. Patent searching is an art in itself. If you do not find what you expect, do not assume it is not there.
We have access to proprietary databases and we have experienced staff familiar with the intricacies of patent searching. If you need certainty as to whether a particular patent application has been filed, we can assist.
If you need a "freedom-of-action" search (a clearance search) to clear the way in advance of the launch of a new product, this is not a do-it-yourself task. A rigorous clearance search involves reviewing the proposed product, identifying inventive concepts (often more than one) and conducting searches (typically using the International Patent Classification rather than keywords) through different patent office collections (often not in English) over a 20 year period (this being the lifetime of a patent). We use trained technical staff familiar with the technology in question and/or engage specialist technical searchers and review the results. We can draw up and cost a search strategy to suit your budget and your comfort level of risk.