Prior to filing, a patent search is important to assess whether your idea for an invention is novel enough to be patentable. You may dispense with a search if you prefer, but doing so increases the risk of wasted expense later. On the other hand, if you know the "prior art" in your field of invention, a pre filing patent search may not be appropriate, you might want to proceed to file straight away.
If you are in doubt as to whether or not your invention or idea is patentable we can provide some advice before you proceed with a search, but to offer a thorough opinion it is important to develop an idea of other patents on the registers.
Patent searches are important:
- To find out whether your invention is new.
- To develop a better understanding of the prior art (other inventions in the same field against which the novelty or your own ideas will be measured). This helps us to position the invention strategically in the patent application.
- Where you have only a broad idea of how you will put the idea into effect, a search can provide inspiration of how others have done similar things in the past. Surprisingly, this is often overlooked by many would be inventors, but is in fact one of the most important socioeconomic arguments for the patent system as it stands. Earlier patents demonstrate how innovators have solved problems in the past, and the publication of their expertise is part of the bargain they enter into when they apply for patent protection. It is a resource not to be ignored.
- On a related note, patent searches can occasionally stimulate invention even before you have devised a solution. You may have an idea which is formulated more like a problem to be solved than a way of doing so. Seeing how people have tackled related problems can help you find your own solution.
If you need legal work please call us on +44 (0)20 7700 1414 or if you prefer send us an enquiry using the form below. Depending on your requirements we may suggest a free meeting. This is often the best way to assess whether we would be the right firm for you, and to understand the work involved, your priorities, attitude to risk, and desired timescales.