Patent Searching

How to check if an idea is new – Patent Search!

Before seeking patent protection it is worthwhile to check if your idea is in fact new. At first instance, it is useful to conduct a general Google search. You may also like to search Google Patents  or Google scholar. However, simply because your idea does not appear to be disclosed on Google does not mean it is new.

The next level of complexity is conducting a search of some of the patent databases such as the Australian Patent Office Database, the US Patent Database and the European Patent Office Database. We generally recommend starting with the European Patent Office Database as this typically the easiest to use. Searching can be conducted by keyword searching such as “foldable box” or, as is the preference of the patent office, by classification.  Searching by classification is far more complex and should be conducted by an experienced Patent Attorney or Patent Searcher.

As you may appreciate from the above, patent searching is quite complex and because there are so many places to search – no one can ever fully guarantee your idea is in fact new.

One way of gaining a reliable search result  is to file a provisional patent application and have the Australian Patent Office conduct a preliminary search (called an International-Type Search). This will provide you with a clear indication from the Australian Patent Office whether or not your idea is new and likely to be considered patentable. It is also worth keeping in mind that potential investors or business associates may place more weight on a search by the Patent Office to provide confidence that potential future patent rights may be granted.

Novelty Patent Searching

Novelty searching is the more formal term used in the industry for checking if an idea is new.  There are different levels of complexity of novelty searching that can be conducted. The simplest novelty searches are usually keyword based (i.e “solar panel bracket”).

However, a comprehensive novelty search should be based on a carefully designed patent search strategy which is based on the patent technological classification (i.e. B65G53/04). This type of classification searching is similar to how the Australian Patent Office conducts searches when your patent application is examined.

A novelty search cannot guarantee that your patent will be considered novel. However, having a professional patent search conducted will certainly reduce the risk and assist to provide a base of relevant information from which to focus the patent application.

Clearance Patent Searching

A clearance search (also known as an “infringement search”) is a search conducted to check whether your product or process infringes a third parties intellectual property rights including patents and designs. Usually, clearance searching is conducted on a jurisdiction basis (i.e for select countries) as the primary concern is generally active/granted patents in a country in which you intend to make, offer for sale or sell your product.

A clearance search cannot fully guarantee that your product or process will not infringe a third parties intellectual property rights. However, having a professional patent search conducted will certainly reduce the risk and may also provide you with valuable information as to relevant technology and/or competitor information.

A common misconception is that if you have your own patent or design – you will not infringe any third party rights. However, this is not the case – and, for example, a product subject of a granted patent – can still infringe an earlier filed and granted patent which has claims that include in scope your product.

Accordingly, whether or not you or your business chooses to seek it own patent or design rights, you may still infringe a third party patent right.

If you are unsure, please contact Caska IP and we can let you know where you stand.


What our clients say

As I move into consultancy, I would like to acknowledge your part in assisting WEARX achieve its IP management plan objectives. We moved our portfolio for a large Sydney based Patent Attorney firm in mid-2013 to Caska IP – and I’m pleased to say this has paid off. Your dedicated approach to finding the best way to provide us with appropriate IP protection in challenging market conditions, has helped us achieve commercial security and good management. In summary, your service level and cost base has exceeded our expectations.

Jerry Hoslin, Director & Founder, WearX

I have been involved in business consultancy for over 25 years. This has involved launching new businesses, ideas, products as well as assisting existing businesses to expand. In that time I have experienced many start ups and dealt with a large range of Intellectual Property. Andrew Caska, Principal Patent Attorney of Caska IP, has recently provided his services to one of my clients and we worked closely to formalise important patents and trade marks. His understanding of the invention, his work and timely delivery were all first class and we are very happy with the outcomes.

Grant Harms, Business Consultant,

Caska IP has been more than supportive in protecting Automed Pty Ltd IP for the agricultural and medical industry. In working with IP& we have developed a clear IP strategy for patents and trademarks for our products, for the Australian market and the international market. We are more than happy with their dedication and level of service and would recommend them to any small or large organisation

David Edwards, CEO & Founder, Automed Pty Ltd

As an individual inventor, I set out to find a Patent Attorney service that was accessible and reasonably priced to assist in lodging my first patent application. I found Caska IP to be not only affordable and accessible, but highly professional and attentive to my needs and requirements. Caska IP worked with me to assist in refining my idea and expressing its unique qualities. I highly recommend Caska IP to the individual inventor.

Lester Walters, Inventor, QUAD R&D Pty Ltd

I was relatively unaware of what was needed and admit to being a bit nervous. Your perception and interpretation of what I was trying to achieve gave me great comfort. On receipt of the initial draft I was impressed with the professional presentation and the attention to detail with little alteration being required. You may rest assured that I will be using Caska IP for future projects (of which I have several) after this one is put to bed.

John Plumridge, Inventor

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