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Worldwide Patent Search - How Patentable is Your Idea?

It is almost vital that you conduct a worldwide patent search prior to filing your patent application. A patent search helps to establish how original, and therefore how patentable, your idea is. In order to be patentable, an idea has to be globally unique, which is why this search has to be worldwide.

The results of the search will help you to design and develop the idea, to ensure that your product does not infringe on other products, and will also be essential when writing your patent application. When drafting your patent you need to refer to previous, relevant patents and this is why the search becomes an integral part of the application procedure. It will also provide you with an early indication of the likelihood of your patent being granted and as a result may increase your chances.

Patent searches include all applications filed whether granted or not and therefore not all patent applications found in the search will be products on the market, or products that will ever get to market. However, all applications affect your own application which is why it is essential to conduct a worldwide patent search.

Results of the Patent Search

A patent search is not a YES or NO answer as to the patentability of the product: it is simply to establish the best way to proceed. There are several different outcomes and some scenarios are laid out below:

  • THERE IS NOTHING LIKE MY PRODUCT: this is the best possible result. Although you will never get an empty patent search, as there will always be relevant material, it may be that there genuinely is nothing like your idea. In order for this to be the case, your claims of novelty must be different to any relevant patent.
  • THERE ARE SIMILAR PATENTS BUT MINE IS BETTER: if your product is a genuine improvement over an existing patent application and can claim that it improves on that product or significantly modifies it in some way then it may still be patentable. This will need reviewing and often design and development work can assist with this. The wording of the application must also be carefully drafted.
  • THERE ARE SIMILAR PATENTS BUT NOT IDENTICAL: in this scenario it may be that with some design and development work, to ensure that the product is not infringing on current products, novel aspects or improved aspects become apparent and may then deem the product potentially patentable. In this situation, the wording of the patent is very important to ensure you are claiming something novel.
  • THERE IS AN IDENTICAL PATENT APPLICATION BUT IT HAS LAPSED: if there is nothing you can claim as novel about your project but the patent application upon which you would be infringing has lapsed then it is still possible to produce and market your product but it would not be able to be patented. There may be other forms of protection that you could use instead.
  • THERE IS AN IDENTICAL PATENT APPLICATION CURRENTLY GRANTED IN ANOTHER COUNTRY: if there is nothing you can claim as novel and the application of concern is granted but not in the UK, this means you would still be able to produce and sell your product within the UK but not within the country in which the product is protected. You would also not be able to patent the idea. In this scenario you would need to be careful of product marketing on the internet in the event that this is accessible from a country in which the product is protected.
  • THERE IS AN IDENTICAL PATENT APPLICATION CURRENTLY GRANTED IN THE UK: unfortunately, this is the only scenario in which forwarding the project is almost impossible. In this instance, you may need to rethink the project.

How can Innovate Design Help?

With access to commercial databases, Innovate can conduct a worldwide patent search and provide a report of all similar intellectual property, advising on the implications of the results. There are various potential outcomes which is why we provide a consultation to establish the next best step for you and your project. Although there are some limited patent databases available online, these do not all operate the correct translations, classifications or listings. With a team of trained researchers, Innovate can help conduct a thorough search for your peace of mind.

If you wish to commission a worldwide patent search on your idea with Innovate Design the first stage is to complete the initial review by sending your idea to us.

For more information on the patent application process click here: Idea Protection - Patent Application...

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