Why You Should Get a Patent SearchBefore you spend any serious amount of time and money developing a new idea you need to check that it is not already being done by someone else.
It might be disappointing to discover that your idea is not new, but it is a lot more disappointing to find out from someone claiming that you have copied their idea. You should get always get a professional search done before you invest time and money.
What is a Patent Search?When a patent has been published it can be found in one of the databases maintained by members of the World Intellectual Property Organisation (WIPO). Once this has been done, or if the idea has been put in the public domain some other way, then it cannot be claimed and patented by anyone else. Although patents are granted by individual countries, if the idea is already in the public domain then a new patent cannot be granted by anybody. So all countries have to be checked before applying for a patent. The Patent Office will do this but it may take several months for them to send you the results. You should not invest any significant amounts of time or money until you have reasonable confidence that your idea can be protected.
If you develop and sell products in a country based on an idea that has already been patented by someone else for that country then you risk being sued for patent infringement. It is therefore vital that you confirm that your idea has not already been patented in a country where you want to do business. An important part of this process is to do a worldwide patent search for the idea.
If the idea already exists, even if it has not been patented, then you will not be able to patent it. So it is also important to look for similar products and services that are on sale.
There are two key benefits of a search. They are vital for anyone considering launching a new idea.
Firstly, to make sure that the idea is really new and available for exploitation. Failing to check this could at best result in money being wasted, or at worst being sued for infringing an existing patent.
Secondly, it is important to know what competing products and ideas exist so that you can plan to produce a better product.