The Essential Guide to Patent Searches: Safeguarding Your Invention’s Future


Every search provides pertinent information that should be considered before the invention is patented to avoid having to deal with non-patentable inventions. In a simple patent search prior art is checked and patents and other literature are reviewed to determine prior disclosure so as to assess the patentability of the invention. A few of them are Patent databases of patent offices across the world, Google Patents, Google Patent Search, Espacenet and Patent search services from patent attorneys and search firms. Thirdly, previous study realized from use non-patent literature, including academic journals and specialized technical publications, are also useful for collecting existing knowledge in the state of the art. Through such exploratory and thorough research, inventors can establish the novelty of their invention, define some of the challenges they might face, and more importantly, come up with strategic ways to patent their inventions. This systematic approach can assist to prevent paying money on a patent application that may not be allowed due to the presence of similar preliminary art, which will many times save time, money and effort.


A search helps in an assessment of the invention’s novelty and whether the invention qualifies for the grant of a patent. It entails reviewing the available published literature and a list of patents for any related works as prior art which is work that could potentially bar the invention from being patented in the first place.

There are several methods and resources available for conducting a patent search:

  1. Online Patent Databases: Bodies responsible for granting patents and patent applications do provide online databases of granted patents and file patent applications. These databases include the United States Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO) Database or the European Patent Office (EPO) Database where the users can search for patents with particular keywords, classification, inventor or assignee.
  2. Patent Search Tools: This is possible through a number of online patent search engines, websites, and databases that are available including; Google patents, Espacenet and WIPO Patent Scope database among others. These tools offer more specific details and not limited to that but can access numerous patents of many countries.
  3. Professional Patent Search Services: In detailed and thorough searches, people and companies who are looking for patents may turning to so called patent search companies or patent attorneys. Most of them have comprehensive knowledge and experience regarding carrying out searches utilizing innovative strike techniques and search instruments.
  4. Non-Patent Literature: It is also important to note that non-patent references including scholarly articles, periodicals, and research papers, technical and trade literature, conference paperwork, and scholarly or professional publications could contribute to determining the admissibility of a given invention in a patent application. That way, the search process will provide a more thorough assessment of applicability and relevance of the prior art.

Patent search allows inventors to determine the originality of the inventions in question, as well as the possibility of obtaining a patent for such inventions and define potential threats which can be naked inventions which can be rivals for the invention under consideration. This helps to save on time and materials, and avoid situations when a great deal of energy is spent on obtaining a patent for an invention that would not be granted under patent laws anyway.

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Patent Search


The process of applying for a patent involves several steps, including preparation, filing, examination, and prosecution:

  1. Preparation: The first one is to draft a patent application which comprises of the specifications that is a description of the invention, the claims that are the legal documents that define the state of the invention sought for protection, and drawings where necessary and any other document that may be needed in the application process. To achieve this, proper compliance with the legal requirements of the process and the adequate demonstration of the non-obvious nature of the invention and contribution to the repositories of industrial applicability is compulsory.
  2. Filing: After the patent application is prepared, it is submitted to the relevant patent office most of the time, the national or regional patent office in which protection has been requested. The costs linked with the filing process include the filing fees and any other relevant fees which should be paid alongside the application by the applicant.
  3. Examination: Once filed, the patent application goes to the Patent Office where it is scrutinized by a patent examiner in order to determine its originality, utility and whether or not it is something that any artisan would consider obvious. An examiner considers the application and decides whether the proposed invention is worth patenting and at this stage may also issue office actions that requires change in the application or the examiner may choose to offer objections on some aspects of the application.
  4. Prosecution: However, before a patent is granted, the actual process may involve correspondence between the applicant and the patent examiner and is referred to as prosecution. They can include the enlarging of the claims, submission of extra proofs or reasons, or talking to the examiner with the purpose of further explaining the patentability of the invention.
  5. Grant or Rejection: In this case, if the examiner finds that the patent application satisfies the conditions for the allowance of a patent, then the granting of a patent occurs, and the applicant is awarded a patent grant. In case where the examiner remains inconvincible and continues to offer stirring grounds or issues that the applicant can not address, it may lead to refusal of the application.


Patents can furthermore be traded or franchised making the patent holder able to profit from his inventions and use his patent rights to generate revenue.

Patent brokering on the other hand means the act of facilitating the sale and purchase of patents by transferring the rights in the patents to the buyer in exchange for an agreed sum of money commonly referred as the purchase consideration. Despite the fact that assignment is more common and the assignment or sale agreement will provide the terms and conditions of the transfer, royalties and future payments may be agreed upon as part of the transaction.

Another solution is that patentees may assign their patents, where the owners of the patented invention allow third parties to make and use it in consideration of monetary returns in the form of royalties. The licensing deals may cover a basic or comprehensive range of products and services, short or long term, exclusive or non-exclusive and can also differ greatly regarding the royalty structure, and are often established between the patent owner and the licensee.

On its own, licensing can come in many types such as exclusive license where the licensee has the entire right of using the patented invention for specified area of use or geographical area while a non-exclusive license permits more than one licensee to utilize the invention at the same instance. Licensing can also be reflected such as sublicense, that is the original licensee may also license the patented invention to others parties.

In this way, selling and licensing patents give patent holders chances to produce revenues from the inventions without having to produce and sell the product. These strategies can be useful for independent inventors and new venture teams who may not have the capital or the knowledge to professionalize their ideas, but who still want to profit from implementing them.


This however raises the element of limitations on what can be patented despite patents being instrumental in offering protection to various inventions. In terms with patents, there exist a number of categories of inventions that cannot be patented with the intention foreseen aim of patents, which was to encourage progress as well as the general welfare of the society.

Some common limitations on patentable subject matter include:

  1. Laws of nature, natural phenomena, and abstract ideas: Some important legal aspects to consider while applying for an invention patent are as follows: It is important to note that ideas that are in existence in nature or maybe regular phenomena that occur in the natural world cannot be patented. This is so since such discoveries are generally perceived to be parts of the public domain and not creations of natural endowment.
  2. Scientific principles and mathematical algorithms: Likewise, creation or ideas arrived at by scientific processes or numerical formulas that have no relevance in the actual world may not be protected under patents.
  3. Methods of doing business: Techniques or approaches that are dwells in the conceptual plane, in a particular business sector or globe, or are simply ideas or theories or conceptions of business or economics organization or basic tenets of economics are not patentable.
  4. Inventions contrary to public policy or morality: The invention that has an unlawful use which is deemed to be detrimental to the health and safety of the public as well as their morality, is not protected by patent law. For example, cloning of human beings or inventions for immoral purposes are not acceptable for issuing patents.
  5. Inventions lacking utility: However, not all inventions that are eligible for a patent meet this requirement, for an invention to be patented, it must be capable of some form of use or useful in industries. Sometimes, it is possible to label inventions that possess no utility or cannot be adapted for use in an industry as being nonpatentable.

In essence, patent laws seek to achieve the twin goals of the promotion of inventions on the one hand and to ensure that patents are granted exclusively for inventions that are deemed to be the public good and for furthering innovation and technology on the other.


In conclusion, it is important to agree with the post’s assertion that a patent search is a vital step in the patenting process that guarantees the novelty and patentability of an invention. Nonetheless, through online patent researcher tools, patent databases, services of professional, and non-patent literature, the inventors can search and analyze prior art relevant to their invention in order to evaluate the novelty of the invention. This diligent approach not only assists in eliminating some predictable setbacks but also assists in improving the processes of the patent application while making the respective patents more robust. Patent searching in an efficient way reassures the inventors to move forward to the preparation or filing of a patent application since the invention being sought has got high chances of being granted a patent. Moreover, it provides important information to create the concrete notion of competition and existing technologies, which helps inventors place their creations into appropriate segments. In conclusion, a thorough patent search is more of a bet on the effectiveness of the patent process, in general, as well as the development of innovative technologies and businesses. Any inventor can get the stronger and better protection to their inventions then they able to provide further invention and economic growth by satisfying the requirements of patentability.

Author: Kaustubh Kumar, in case of any queries please contact/write back to us via email to or at  Khurana & Khurana, Advocates and IP Attorney.

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