Before filing for a patent it’s worth carrying out a search to see if the invention is new and inventive over what is already known worldwide (the prior art). This can help determine whether the patent application is likely to be successful and provide useful information for drafting the patent application.
To improve your prior art searching read our Top Ten Tips below:
1. Work out the key features of your invention (the essential features to make it work) as these will be the features you will need to search for.
2. Consider all the likely areas of prior art to search. It may be obvious to search patents but where else? Inventions may be in non-patent literature e.g. research papers, books, company publications and adverts, youtube videos, google images, etc.
3. For patent searching, search worldwide, do not try to limit territories/countries as this can miss the best patent/s (e.g. the best patent may be a Korean patent).
4. When searching patents, start off by putting in the minimum “bang-on” keywords first and only add further keywords if you are getting too many results, searching the title and or abstracts as this can sometimes hit the best patent. Then try alternative keywords.