It is said that the like-minded people think alike and hence we see different people from various backgrounds coming together to build business, industry, relationships, empires, companies and so on. These people faced problems and decided to find solutions which led them to each other and the inventions.

Therefore, it becomes extremely important to conduct a search before finding a solution to a problem as it is highly likely that somewhere someone (alone or together) may have faced a similar problem and found a similar/same solution. In other words, there is no point re-inventing the wheel.

Sometimes, we make something different and in the excitement of becoming the first introducer, we launch the product/service. In cases like this, search becomes an essential activity as there may be a chance of infringing the rights of an IP holder which may cost more than the profits.

Hence it clear that searching before investing either intellectually or commercially is a "must to do" step. Now, the search and search strategy is different as per your requirement and the scenario. Broadly the search types are:

Knock-out search:

It is a cost effective and short search to quickly analyse the potential of the invention. The search duration is 4-5 hours and the focus is to check if the idea already exists. Knock-out search should be opted before investing any time or money to develop an idea.

Novelty search:

It is to analyse the novelty part of the invention. The term "novelty" means original and in terms of invention, it means if the complete idea of the invention already exists or not. Novelty search is 10-15 hours search to determine the originality of the idea.

Patentability search:

It analyses the novelty and inventiveness of the invention as these are the two important criteria for patentability. This is a 16-18 hours search and the objective is to evaluate the patentability of the invention in order to decide if the next steps for patent application filings should be taken or not. This search also helps to determine the periphery of the invention with respect to other existing arts.

Freedom to Operate search:

It helps in determining if the product or invention is free to be used in a jurisdiction without infringing IP rights of others. The search is conducted on active patents or patent applications only and based on the jurisdiction of interest.

Validation/ Invalidation search:

It is conducted to establish or challenge the validity of a patent or invention. The time spent on the search is about 30-48 hours and the focus is to establish or challenge the claims of a patent based on prior filed or available patent and non-patent documents or disclosures.

Landscape search:

It provides an overview of a technology or sector and its current filing trends. This search is to understand the upcoming technologies and interest of the companies. It also provides the "technology white gap" which can be viewed as the potential for investment in terms of research and development and set initial foot into the domain.

The content of this article is intended to provide a general guide to the subject matter. Specialist advice should be sought about your specific circumstances.