To Search or Not to Search?

When first encountering the world of intellectual property; patents, trademarks and designs, often one of the first question asked is “have you done a search?”

What do we mean by “a search” and is it undertaken simply to jump through the hoops of the patenting or registration process?

Fundamentally any intellectual property rights are a means to an end in that the rights conferred by the grant or registration of a patent, trademark or design rights allow the owner to use the laws of the country of registration to defend their intellectual property against infringers or piracy or theft.

Further the Intellectual property rights allow the owner to profit from various restrictive practices, for example; sole use, licensing, controlling and/or limiting access to the technology.

To explain why we need a search we must look at the requirements of obtaining a valid and granted patent which may be successfully used to the benefit of the owner.

To withstand attack by competitors, amongst other things, the claimed invention in a patent must be novel, i.e. it must be new, not done before, and further it must be inventive, i.e. not obvious or easily derived from what has been done before.

If a patent fails an attack then all may be lost, the investment in writing and filing, legal fees, any investment from business angels or the sale of shares, all application fees and application costs and of course the loss of significant time effort and potentially a loss of face.

With over 50 million patent documents to search through how do we undertake a search?

London IP provides expert services, know-how, legal and technical competencies to undertake a search on your behalf.

The London IP searcher is able to understand the technical aspects of the innovation, derive the search terms and patent codes required to complete the search correctly and be prepared to modify and follow the search results.

Further the interpretation of the documents found is entrusted to our London IP expert attorneys who can decipher the claims and correctly advise the client as to their best options and next steps.

Similar questions apply to trademark searching, although if your use of a trademark is speculative (and you are not yet using the mark) it can be more cost-effective to simply file an application and use the official search as the clearance search.

If you have any questions on IP searching please do not hesitate to contact us.