How Good is Your Idea?
Worldwide Patent Search
Many ideas have been patented but never made it to market. After general market research on the internet a review of these ideas is always a great way to assess the field of your idea.
It is also wise to conduct a worldwide patent search in addition to a UK patent search prior to filing a patent application. A patent search helps to establish how original, and therefore how patentable, your idea is, and in what ways. In order to be patentable, an idea has to be globally unique, which is why this search has to be worldwide.
It will provide you with an early indication of the likelihood of your patent being granted and increases your chances of identifying what is new about the idea and whether it is worth spending money on.
Patent searches include all applications filed whether granted or not so 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 not just a UK patents search, but a worldwide patent search instead.
More information about Innovate worldwide patent search click here: Understand a worldwide patent search results
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, giving you an idea of the field of your invention, who is in it, how many people are in it, what they have already thought of. 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 we look to provide development ideas, so there will always be relevant material, it may be that there genuinely is nothing like your idea. Any patent application will have to be worded to maximise the novelty.
- 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 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 patents, novel aspects or improved aspects become apparent and 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: even 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. There may be other forms of protection that you could use.
- 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 should 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, if a British patent search shows an identical patent application granted in the UK, this is the only scenario in which forwarding the project is almost impossible. In this instance, you may need to rethink the project but we advise taking legal advice first.
How can Innovate Design help with patent searches?
With subscriptions to commercial databases, Innovate can conduct a worldwide patent search and provide a detailed background review of similar patent documents, aiming to provide help in development as well as information about existing protection. There are various potential outcomes which is why we provide a consultation to establish the next best commercial step for you and your project. Although there are patent databases available online, these do not necessarily contain everything you need and can be very time-consuming to navigate. 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…