Product Clearance Search Is Important for Innovators: Know How & Why?

Product Clearance Search is also referred to as patent infringement search or patent clearance search. It is a process conducted by innovators and organizations before launching their manufactured product in the market. This procedure involves critically analyzing the already issued patents as well as pending patent applications.

Clearance search provides the best route for examining the possible checkpoints for any future infringements. Moreover, it provides a clear idea about the possible risks that may hinder the commercialization of the invented product in future. Hence, this activity turns out to be of prime importance in taking important IP decisions and form appropriate business strategies.

Also Read: 5 Key Benefits of Patent Monitoring Alert Reports

Why Should One Conduct Product Clearance Search?

According to the present scenario, there are beyond 7.6 million US patents that have been issued and over a million pending US patent applications. During these times, an inventor must be aware of obtaining the relevant knowledge regarding the concerned domain while filing a patent application. This information pertains to the possible threats that might occur as infringements in the future.

Plausibly, an innovator must receive the required guidance from professional advisors in such cases. A consultative approach benefits the innovator by providing essential opinions and services including product clearance search. Clearance search is a time-consuming and a tedious task and hence, requires opinions dissipated by skilled patent attorneys.

A clearance search is done to reveal the patents which might possess claims enforced against the invented product. It unleashes the relevance between the invented product and the claims mentioned in issued as well as pending patent applications. Sometimes, the claims mentioned in the issued patents are eligible to question the novelty and usefulness of the invented product. Hence, this helps in indicating the threat of an infringement issue with the invented product in future.

When an individual becomes aware of any possible future infringements, they look towards forming appropriate business decisions. This might direct them to conduct patent invalidity search and determine apposite features of their invented product. This helps them in establishing stronger claims for the novelty and non-obviousness for their product.

Related Article: Need for Industrial Design Patent Searches

How is Product Clearance Search Different from Patent Search & Freedom to Operate Search?

Features of Product Clearance Search

Clearance search is a complex process which involves vigorous fact-finding and patent analysing activities. All the patents relevant to the technical domain of the invented product are scrutinized thoroughly by skilled experts. This helps in determining the extent of scope retained in the claims of the patent. It becomes easy to interpret the strength of the claims after analysing whether the claims provide a broad/ narrow view of product usefulness and novelty.

Additionally, interpreting the claims forms the most essential constituent of conducting a clearance search. The skilled searchers must execute interpretation of as many claims as possible from all corresponding issued patents and pending patent applications. Claim interpretation helps in providing suitable references for the innovated product. Hence, these provide credibility to the opinions given by experts to their clients and help them in taking far-sighted decisions.

Features of Patentability Search

On the other hand, patentability search is a broad subject which deals with information pertinent to the requirements of a patent application. Moreover, it provides knowledge about whether the invented product stands novel in the particular domain or not. It inquires about all applicable, prior art searches to define the novelty of the invented product.

Further, it helps in storing important facts which provide uniqueness and credibility to the patent claims. This involves data from all sources, including patent and non-patent literatures, conference announcements, journals, etc. that were publicly disclosed before the filing date. This activity also involves the use of databases from USPTO to discover authentic information about the patents.

However, patent search does not guarantee to declare whether the innovation is non-obvious. It may provide a broadly categorised prior-art search, but somehow, fails to describe the specific facts required in taking crucial business decisions. Hence, patent search does not promise to provide the relevant details which may not obstruct the granting of a patent.

Features of Freedom to Operate (FTO) Search

Freedom to Operate Search (FTO) provides comprehensive details which cover as broadest claims as possible in all admissible patents. It carefully analyses the subject matter based upon the USPTO guidelines to identify the potential barriers in the commercialization of any product. If it turns out negative, i.e., the claims of patent in-force covers the invention to be operated, a patent can be invalidated. There is a minor but nevertheless an important fact that distinguishes ‘FTO’ from product clearance search. FTO takes expired as well as non-patent literatures into consideration while conducting its search. Whereas product clearance search does not pay attention to expired patents or non-patent literatures.

Related Article: Non-Patent Literature Resources


A clearance search helps in stabilising the process of framing important IP business strategies while filing a patent application. It aids in imbibing knowledge about the potential risk factors which may affect the commercial life of an invented product. Further, it provides crucial advantages by minimizing the chances of coming across patent litigations.

Additionally, it reduces the chances of losing out on all the invested resources and facing investment loss of money and effort. This activity also facilitates in working towards product development. Moreover, it helps in reckoning any licensing needs to enlarge the scope of gaining business profits. Consequently, it also contributes in providing specific advantages to innovators to discover unexploited markets across the globe.  

Related Article: Why Patentability Search Reports are Important for Inventors?

Searching Professionals for Product Clearance Search? – The Patent Search Company (TPSF)

The Patent Search Firm (TPSF) endures an experience of over 10 years in the field of carrying out Product Clearance Search. The company holds a vast potential in providing the best services with more than 350 technical skilled professionals. These experts have an experience of conducting clearance searches in more than 16 different languages in over 100 countries across the globe. Moreover, the company assures in providing quick turnarounds with 100% satisfaction from the client’s perspective.

TPSF provides an extensive research on the subject matter and examines all the specific features of in-force patent claims by its experts. Also, TPSF provides a broad range of services including Patentability Search, Freedom to Operate Search (FTO) and Landscape Analysis. Services such as Design Patent Search, Patent Assignee Search, Chemical Structure Search, Biological Sequence Search and Patent Watch/ Monitoring are also provided. In addition to this, TPSF has offered more than 75% successful outcomes while working in over 30 technical domains. Consequently, the company has impregnated its roots in the IP industry by providing guaranteed satisfaction to over 1200 clients across the globe.

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