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A patent search is a search of issued patents and published patent applications for inventions that might be considered important “prior art” references when applying for a patent. Patent search can be done to improve the chances of obtaining a patent registration or to find information about new inventions that have patent protection. In this article, we look at the procedure for conducting a patent search in India.A patent searcher reviews the drawings and text of patents and patent applications to find inventions that may be similar to an inventor’s new invention.

The patent searcher uses the patent classification system, in addition to keyword searching, to find relevant patents.

The patent search benefits the inventor by identifying the closest prior art so that we can determine both how patentable the invention is, and also what specific parts of the invention are the most different from the prior art. A patent search can also reveal that the inventor’s invention has already been made – even if the invention has never been commercially available for purchase.A patent search typically deals with search/ research/ data mining which involve patents in one way or the other, either directly or indirectly. Contrary to a myth, patent searchers don’t just involve searching patents, but also comprise scouting of non-patent and legal literature searches which are linked to certain patent oriented projects.We have touched on the significance of patent searching in above paragraphs. Now, we shall discuss why patent searching is a skill and art in itself which requires continuous practice, creativity, and a holistic approach. A good search is a combination of exhaustive search and extensive search wherein a combination of good search strategy used on a good and relevant database.

The legal criteria for getting a patent are:

The invention must be eligible for patent protection (i.e., it must be patentable subject matter).

The invention must be novel.

The invention must be non-obvious (i.e., it must be a significant advancement of existing technology).

You must file a patent application with the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO). The application must be examined to see if it meets the standards above, in addition to other legal standards.


1.What rights does patent provide?

A patent owner has the right to decide who may – or may not – use the patented invention for the period in which the invention is protected. In other words, patent protection means that the invention cannot be commercially made, used, distributed, imported, or sold by others without the patent owner’s consent.

2.Who can apply for a patent?

A patent may be applied for only in the name(s) of the actual inventor(s).

3.What can and cannot be patented?

What can be patented – utility patents are provided for a new, nonobvious and useful:

  • Process
  • Machine
  • Article of manufacture
  • Composition of matter
  • Improvement of any of the above

Note: In addition to utility patents, encompassing one of the categories above, patent protection is available for (1) ornamental design of an article of manufacture or (2) asexually reproduced plant varieties by design and plant patents.

What cannot be patented:

  • Laws of nature
  • Physical phenomena
  • Abstract ideas
  • Literary, dramatic, musical, and artistic works (these can be Copyright protected). Go to the Copyright Office .
  • Inventions which are:
    • Not useful (such as perpetual motion machines); or
    • Offensive to public morality

Invention must also be:

  • Novel
  • Nonobvious
  • Adequately described or enabled (for one of ordinary skill in the art to make and use the invention)
  • Claimed by the inventor in clear and definite terms

4.Is patent valid in every country?

Patents are territorial rights. In general, the exclusive rights are only applicable in the country or region in which a patent has been filed and granted, in accordance with the law of that country or region.

5. Why are patent is useful?

Patented inventions have, in fact, pervaded every aspect of human life, from electric lighting (patents held by Edison and Swan) and plastic (patents held by Baekeland), to ballpoint pens (patents held by Biro), and microprocessors (patents held by Intel, for example).

Patents provide incentives to and protection for individuals by offering them recognition for their creativity and the possibility of material reward for their inventions. At the same time, the obligatory publication of patents and patent applications facilitates the mutually-beneficial spread of new knowledge and accelerates innovation activities by, for example, avoiding the necessity to “re-invent the wheel”.

6.How do I file a Provisional Application for Patent?

A Provisional Application for Patent must be filed with the USPTO. This entails completing a paper or electronic application, submitting accompanying illustrations, and complying with other USPTO guidelines. LegalZoom can help make this process quick and easy. Once you answer a few questions online, we complete and file your application (or do so along with our affiliate patent firm). We can even help you obtain top-quality technical illustrations

7. How long does a Provisional Application for Patent last?

A provisional application for patent lasts 12 months from its filing date. The USPTO will not grant extensions for any reason.

The inventor(s) must file a Non-Provisional Patent Application within that period to take advantage of the Provisional Application for Patent’s filing date. If not, the provisional application is declared abandoned and its filing date is lost.

Another Provisional Application for Patent or even a Non-Provisional Patent Application for the same invention can still be filed, just without the benefit of the earlier filing date

8.What should a provisional patent application include?

A provisional application may include any of a variety of materials (e.g., text, figures, graphs, charts, photographs) that describe the invention and how to make and use it. A provisional application should explicitly answer the following questions:

(1)   What is the invention?

(2)  How is the invention made?

(3)  How is the invention used?

9.How many inventors can I have?

You must list at least one inventor, but it’s fine to have more. If two or more people each make a contribution to at least one concept that makes the invention patentable, then they are co-inventors. It’s a good idea to use a Joint Ownership Agreement, which will help you preserve ownership rights with co-inventors.

When you file your application through Nolo’s Online Provisional Patent Application, you will receive a sample Joint Ownership Agreement with your purchase.

A company cannot be an inventor; it has to be a real person. Even if a company owns the rights to the invention and any potential patent, you must list the actual inventor in the provisional patent application.