Patent Search Techniques: Know Them All

An applicant needs to conduct an extensive patent search much before filing a patent application. You can find the most trustworthy tools and patent search techniques available online. In this particular article, we will learn in detail about patent search techniques and everything you need to know about it.

What is a Patent Search?

You must conduct a Patent search before filing a Patent application. It involves comparison with pre-existing Patents and a detailed examination.

You can seek the help of an experienced Patent professional as they are more prone to patent search techniques and methods. As a result, the outcomes or results are quite strong and reliable. Also, It is unlikely for an experienced person to miss any valuable patent information.

A patent search comprises of the following targets:

  • To establish that an invention or product is novel. You can consider an Invention as Novel when there are no similarities between your invention and a pre-existing Invention.
  • It will help you know about the technical or any advancement in the related field. This is known as state-of-the-art patent search.
  • We perform an infringement search to ensure that our invention does not infringe any other pre-existing Patent.
  • You perform a Validity search to find any similarities between your Invention and Pre-existing invention. Your invention is considered as invalid if there is any similarity with the pre-existing product.

The above-mentioned targets, though hard to reach is not something which is not accomplishable. Taking the help of proper patent search techniques can make you reach the goal easily.

Why is Patent Search worth it?

For all those inventors who wish to secure their new invention by patenting it, patent search is a must for them. The entire process of a patent application is quite costly and time taking. It is just a loss of time and money if you have filed an application for patent with the USPTO before doing a search with proper patent search techniques.

Also Read: Patent Search Affects Your Business: Learn How?

A General View of Patents

A patent is an exclusive set of legal rights granted to an inventor or patentee by the government or the statutory body. The patent helps the inventor stop a third person from unauthorized making, using and selling the application. The duration of the validity of a patent in the USA is for 20 years post submission of application for patent grant. This term of validity differs accordingly in different countries.

Intellectual property law is equally applicable and incorporates patents, trademarks, and copyrights. An invention must be novel, non-obvious and commercially exploitable in order to win a patent. The three primary types of patents are as below:

  • Utility Patents– They protect the invention or product with a specific function.
  • Design Patents– They protect the decorative part of a functional item.
  • Plant Patents– They protect the Patents that are discovered recently.

A patent application is a combination of Claims, Drawings and Description of the Invention.

Patent Search Techniques & Tools

Plenty of search tools are available on the internet that is absolutely free to use. Let us have a look at some of them below:

  • The first and foremost authentic source to begin with a patent search is the USPTO database. It has an enormous stock of appropriate information on US patents. Apart from a resource it also helps a user with its manual and Helps section which guides an applicant as to how to conduct or start a patent search. All recently granted patents are published weekly in the USPTO official gazette.
  • Free Patents Online or FPO is a website that provides an easy approach to already published patents and applications. The articles being hyperlinked make the search task effortless.
  • Google Patent Search database also enlists pre-existing patents and gives helpful insights on prior-art. However, it might not contain the most recent patents.
  • The European Patent Office has its own search database named Espacenet which is again free to use. It has numerous patent documents from all over the world. The most useful feature of this database is that it provides a translated version too. Thus it will not be a problem for you to do a patent search even though you are outside the US.
  • The Derwent World Patent Index is a famous patent database all throughout the globe. Mostly companies trust this database whenever it comes to patents search.
  • A popular patent search database called Database hosts millions of patent documents. However, it is not free to use.
  • Generally, all patent search sites focus on utility patents.

Also read:  Patent Search Types: ‘The Major Eight’

Patent Search Techniques and Tips to be remembered:

The following things should be kept in mind while doing a patent search:

Learn about the search tools

The features of each and every database are unique and different. As a searcher, you must go ahead and learn about the database in detail by taking the help of the Help Section in any database.

Use multiple keywords

Always do a search with a maximum possible combination of keywords for your intended invention or product. This is because similar products can have different nomenclatures. So make your brain work harder to do the search with all possible keywords for an invention.

Understand the Classification System

Inventions that are registered with the US Patent System are classified into Classes and Sub-classes. Individual inventions have their own numbers. To get a more specific result, an applicant or searcher should search for his/her invention within the target class. This takes time to learn. For both Europe and the U.S., there is a classification system but for other countries the systems are different. All those applicants who wish to file a patent application in different countries should learn the patent classification system of those countries in order to do a patent search.

Search probable Patent Owner

For all those applicants who have an idea about their probable competitors can conduct a patent search by the competitor’s name. This will help that applicant or you to get an idea of what the competitors are doing and simultaneously search for concepts that can have similarities to your invention. Further, it will also help you determine any possible patent infringement if applicable.

Take help of Paid Database

You must use proper patent search techniques on the paid version of databases instead of only sticking to the free versions. These databases make the search easier for you by automatically generating similar keywords. Also, you can compare the results of both paid and free databases. The results from multiple databases are complex to segregate. A Patent is considered not valid if you are unable to renew it.  But, an invention is always a prior-art and these results altogether affect the characteristics of the invention that you want a Patent for.

Citation Search

If you get to find a patent that has similarities to your invention, you should further dig down to find out what the patent cites. This may eventually lead to the discovery of more such similar patents to that of your invention.

Boolean Search

The way you solve problems by the Boolean method can be similarly applied while searching for patents. Combine two or more keywords or search phrases with AND, OR or NOT to get varied results.

Search by Instance

A few search engines enable you to use a particular Patent as an example. Thus, the search engine can use that Patent to gather information about similar documents.

Group the Search Outcomes

The search engine allows you to group together the documents which are related to similar fields/themes. Although, it is possible that some unwanted documents might also enter your cluster.

Search from every possible angle

Once you are completed with the search of related Patents with possible patent search techniques, you must again look for similar outcomes but with a different vision. As it helps to gain the information missed at the first search.

To organize the Search Results

So you did a lot of patent search with proper patent search techniques and arrived with multiple search results. Things will be at a mess if you don’t maintain a proper track of your search results.


A patent search is a complex task and is hard for beginners. However, the success you get after a successful patent search is worth it apart from all the knowledge you gather while going through the process. However, a preliminary patent search must always be followed by a thorough search done by experienced patent professionals using proper patent search techniques. The differences will certainly be striking.

How to Choose the Best Patent Search Techniques? : The Patent Search Firm

The Patent search firm consists of experts and professionals from all technological areas. You may trust us on filing/defending a patent application. We work for 100% customer satisfaction within minimum expenses. Our techno legal experts work on a global database and use manual search for the best outcomes. You may place your orders online and we will respond within a quick TAT. Moreover, you may even track your order at any stage of processing and make required changes accordingly. To grasp more of our services, please visit The Patent Search Firm.

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