Patent Search and its Types in India

BlogPatent    May 25, 2022
Patent Search and its Types in India Posted On

Before we delve into understanding the concept of Patent Search, let us first make ourselves familiar with the definition of a patent. A patent refers to an exclusive right granted by the patent authority of a nation to the inventor or applicant of a unique invention. Patent Rights exclude others in the industry or market from manufacturing, using, selling, distributing, or importing the patented product or process. One of the essential requirements to be met for obtaining Patent Protection is that of novelty, i.e., the invention in question must be unique around the world.

Patent Search and its Importance

A patent search is the first step of the Patent Registration process in India, and that too is a crucial one. By performing a patent search, you can get an indication of what all information is available and accessible in the public domain concerning the proposed invention. The same shall assist you significantly in identifying, matching, and comparing the relevant patent or non-patent documents to determine the patentability of your proposed invention.

The prime objective of conducting a patent search is to notify the inventor or the applicant about the patentability requirements, including novelty, non-obviousness, inventive step, and industrial applicability.

All in all, the advantages of conducting a patent search are as follows:

  • The chances of patent grant increase;
  • You get clarity in drafting a patent claim in your Patent Application;
  • The scope of patent protection extends; and
  • It helps keep track of similar patents and the status of other patent filings.

Types of Patent Search

There are five types of patent searches that a patent applicant or inventor can perform, and they are as follows:

1) Freedom to Operate (FTO) Search

The FTO search, also widely referred to as the right to use or patent clearance search, is conducted before the unique invention or innovation gets launched in the commercial market to avoid Patent Infringement.

An FTO analysis is restricted to only active or granted patents and doesn’t include expired or abandoned patents. Additionally, the FTO search covers both the granted patents and pending patent applications to ensure that the proposed process or product does not infringe upon any other already existing patent.

For instance, if an inventor is looking forward to launching a product or process in India, it is always a brilliant idea to perform a patent search first in the nation itself. The patent search can assist significantly in coming across any potentially enforceable patents in the Indian Territory and knowing about their legal status.

2) Patentability/Novelty Search

Patentability/novelty search counts as one of the most common types of patent search. It aids the inventor or applicant in understanding whether or not the proposed invention falls within the scope of patentable subject matter. In general, it is conducted by a professional expert before, during the development stage of an invention, or prior to filing the patent application. There are multiple techniques available to conduct a patentability search, including International Patent Classification, Keyword Search, Assignee Search, and Application ID Search.

3) State-of-the-Art Search

Among the other types of patent search, the state-of-the-art search, also widely referred to as patent landscape search, is the broadest one. In simple terms, it is all about carrying out a market survey to determine the presence of identical or similar technologies existing in the market. This type of search also brings into light the competitors in the industry and reflects their technological development in the subject matter of interest.

Moreover, by recognizing the trend of already existing products or processes in the market, the state-of-the-art search helps minimize the extreme expenditure of money spent on inventions with no prospective market.

4) Validity/Invalidity Search

A validity/invalidity search is performed after the patent gets issued. The ultimate objective of this search is to assess whether the issued patent holds legitimate in contrast to the previous art published before the date of filing the patent application. This type of patent search is performed during infringement litigation or to mitigate the risk of infringement.

A patent validity search is undertaken to validate the claims of a patent, while a patent invalidity search is undertaken to invalidate the claims of a certain invention. The technique used in both types is the same; however, the outcome rests on the objective of the search.

5) Evidence of Use Search

Some companies and organizations actively explore products or processes infringing upon their patent rights, and this type of search is referred to as the evidence of use search. For coming across such products or processes, companies and organizations review similar patents and seek some evidence concerning the way the patent is utilized so that it infringes upon the searcher’s exclusive patent rights. This type of search is performed after the patent gets issued and matures. ✅ For more visit:

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