Patent is a license or permit authorized by the government conferring a legal right for a period of time. The main right is the sole ownership of the product and excluding others from making, using, selling or importing the patented product without the consent of the owner.
Patent search in the patent database, active and inactive, is the first and most important step to any patent registration.
A patent search is carried out to estimate the scope of protection one can gain for their invention. There are few ways or strategies in which a patent search is carried out to help gain the benefits. They are:
- Patentability search
- Prior art search
- Freedom to Operate search
- Validity/Invalidity search
- Patent Landscape
Each has its own feature aiding the process of patent registration and helping the applicant gain the patent rights in a hassle free manner.
- Patent search provides clarity on the imitation or infringement of the invention, product or service that is under patentability process. This will help the applicant understand and gain knowledge if the already patented invention is similar to his.
- The novelty factor of the product to be patented can be determined while doing a patent search.
- A patent search procedure estimates the scope of patent protection you will be granted by the Patent Office.
- Patent search provides strength to the invention against issues of proof or validity from other applicants or patentees.
- This step provides the patent attorney enough help to write your patent application distinguishing your invention from the others thus improving your chances to gain the patent protection.
- Patent search is not only applicable to the active patents but also searches for resembles or copies in the expired or inactive patents database. This will save time and effort of reexamining the databases for the same application.
- The Patent Office will not examine your patent application for at least a few months, thus a patent search helps avoid unnecessary expenses in the field of innovation prior to investing.
A patent search before filing an application is considered as the best approach and gives the applicant a sense of direction and the possible steps one may need to take to move forward to build a strong application.