Patent and registered design publications are a vital source of technical information for businesses which are actively developing new products or processes.
There are various kinds of searches which can be undertaken to assist in making commercial decisions.

State Of The Art Search
This kind of search is a broad survey which attempts to locate all patents within a defined field of technology in order to provide a recent (or longer) history of advances in that field, or in order to reveal all relevant, currently enforceable patents.

Novelty Search
If you have developed what you believe may be a new product or process, this search seeks to answer the questions:- “Is the idea really new? Can I get a patent for it?”
The search is usually carried out through patent literature only, although, depending upon the subject matter of the enquiry, it can include searching of non-patent literature too.

Monitoring Search
This kind of search is a regular (weekly, monthly or quarterly) search of newly emerging patent publications in a specified technical field, in order to maintain an ongoing awareness of advances by competitors.
Reports are issued which include abstracts of the latest patent publications located.

Validity Search
This kind of search seeks to answer the question:- “Can we destroy or get around a competitors patent?”
The search attempts to locate publications which pre-date the patent of interest and which disclose the same or similar technology.

Name Search
This kind of search aims to identify patents and patent applications filed by specific individuals or firms and it can also be limited by subject matter.

Equivalents Search
Given the known existence of a particular patent, this kind of search seeks to answer the question:- “Where else in the world has this technology been patented?”

Improvements Search
This kind of search centres upon a known patent which is of special interest to you - the ‘base patent’. (The base patent may be your own patent/application, or one belonging to a competitor of yours).
This kind of search seeks to identify any subsequent patent or application in which the base patent is cited as prior art. This helps to identify improvements upon the technology described within the base patent, and to identify alternative approaches to solving the same technical problem which is addressed in the base patent.

Infringement/Clearance Search
This kind of search seeks to answer the question:- “Am I free to make this product/use this process, or do I risk infringing someone else’s rights?”
This kind of search is usually limited geographically to countries in which one envisages exploiting the technology of interest, because patents are territorial rights.


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