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Patent Search: A Brief Explanation

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Published Date: June 2, 2022

It is advisable for an inventor to acquire a patent when creating or designing a new invention. By obtaining a patent, an inventor can be sure that their invention is protected against others making use of, selling, manufacturing, advertising, or importing the invention without permission from the patent holder. In order to acquire a patent and the protection that it affords, one should ensure that one’s invention is, in fact, unique and that another disclosure or patent for the same invention does not already exist. This is one of the ways in which a patent search is useful.

In this article, we will discuss what a patent search is, the benefits of performing one, as well as how to perform one.

What is a Patent Search?

Once a patent has been filed, it receives a unique identification number. That patent also contains a description and drawing of the invention, as well as information about the patent holder. Registered patents are publicly available, and are referred to as “prior art”. This makes it possible to perform a search for similar inventions that already exist and are patented. When applying for a patent, it can be a good idea to perform a patent search before submitting an application. If there is an existing patent that is too similar or the same as your invention, then your invention may be unpatentable.

The Benefits of a Patent Search

There are multiple benefits to performing a patent search before applying for a patent. Some of these benefits include

  • Viability: You will be able to determine if your invention meets the requirements of a successful patent application, or if someone else has already been granted a patent for the same invention.
  • Infringement: You can check for others infringing upon your patent or if you are perhaps the one infringing upon an existing patent.
  • Competitor Research: You are able to learn about your competitors and their products, gaining a good idea about what sets your invention apart from theirs.

How Do I Do a Patent Search?

A patent search can be performed using publicly available resources, like WIPO or European Patent Office (EOP) websites. These websites are free, but it is important to remember that the search results are only as good as the search queries used.

Why Use an Attorney for a Patent Search in South Africa?

It is advisable to make use of a qualified patent attorney or expert when performing a patent search. This is because they will be more thorough with their search as they know what to look out for. At Adams and Adams, you will be assisted by patent attorneys that are equipped with qualifications in science or engineering, ensuring that they understand your patent entirely.

To find out more about why you should conduct a patent search, contact the team of experts at Adams and Adams.

How can we help you?

We have offices in Pretoria, Johannesburg, Cape Town, and Durban, please contact your nearest office for any legal enquiry or assistance.

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