Patentability Search: A Short Introduction

Imagine spending a lot of money, time, and effort on turning your idea into a reality. However, you find out that when you file a patent application, the invention—or a similar kind of invention—has already been patented. Therefore, searching for a patent is the primary way to avoid paying out for any unsuccessful application. This is amongst the many reasons why a patentability search is so important. But what is it, and why is it important? Let’s find out!

Read Also: Prior-art Search: Compulsory or not?

What Is a Patentability Search?

A patentability search is also known as a novelty search or prior-art search. An inventor generally performs this search considering the rules and guidelines by the USPTO. It generally uncovers any references whatsoever that disclose the same or a similar invention to the invention to be patented. This is because an invention can be patentable only when it is novel or new. So, a patentability search permits the searcher to find out if it can reveal openly and publically by somebody before the invention’s critical date.

The concept of similarity is sometimes subjective. Similarly, obviousness is also a non-quantifiable theory. Hence, patentability searches are generally split up into four major types on the relevancy criteria. These are:

  • Non-relevant instantly Related
  • Related
  • Relevant

These criteria are maps the range of the novel, the invention disclosed in the reference, and inventive characteristics of the invention. Again, it would help if you searched both non-patent and patent literature to uncover relevant references and those related to the prior art of the invention in question.

Similarly, if the outcome of the patentability search reveals documents that disclose inventions, you must revise the scope of the invention for subsequent searches based on the newly identified references.

Initially, you can perform a patentability search as early as during the invention’s development stage. However, it should be generally performed before submitting a patent application to crosscheck the likelihood of the invention.

Read Also: 3 Best Practices for Conducting Biological Sequence Searches

The Importance of Patentability Search

The chief purpose of a patentability search is to define the probability of an invention receiving a patent. This is predominantly against the global standards of novelty and non-obviousness.

So, you should perform a patentability search before the process of filing a patent begins. Inventions typically consume a lot of time, effort and expense, so, before filing, make sure that nobody else has a claim for that specific invention.

Following are some of the significant reasons why it is worth performing a patentability search:

  • Gives the inventor a better understanding of the scope of the invention.
  • It can help the patent drafter draft the claim by offering a precise understanding of the invention over the prior art.
  • It prepares the applicant when it comes to providing answers to rejections.

Read Also: 5 Key Benefits of Patent Monitoring Alert Reports


Performing a patentability search is not a legal requirement for an inventor before filing a patent application. However, it should be one of the first steps to take while boarding on the patent process. You should ensure your product is novel as it is a practical action to consider before you begin to make sure your invention is unique and eventually patentable.

Read Also: Importance of Patent Invalidity Search

Hire an Expert- The Patent Search Firm is the answer!

While performing a patentability search, you should always consider hiring a professional or expert in the field. This will mitigate unnecessary errors, and you can rest assured. 

The Patent Search Firm offers exclusive services in freedom to operate (FTO) search,Patent Landscape AnalysisBiological Sequence SearchPatent Invalidity Search, patentability search, and many more. Browse our services here.

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