Worldwide Patent Search

Find out whether you should do a patent search and how to use the results to your advantage.

Patent Essentials

Patent search


Many people use patents to protect inventions.  A granted patent gives you the right to take legal action against anyone who makes, uses, sells or imports anything covered by your patent’s claims without your permission.

To be granted a patent, your invention must be all of the following:

  • Something that can be made or used
  • New – anything that has been made public can’t be patented
  • Inventive – not just a simple modification to something that exists

Find out how to patent an idea

Patent Search

A Worldwide Patent Search can help you find details of existing patent applications to check whether anyone else has had a similar idea.  It is important to check patent documents from around the world as any application that is identified, regardless of where it was made, could affect your chances of getting a patent granted.

Prior art

Prior art is any evidence that your invention is already known. Prior art does not need to exist physically or be commercially available.

Patent searches in the media

“Up to 80% of current technical knowledge
can only be found in patent documents”


“Before you spend any more money,
you need to do a patent search”

Karren Brady
Talking to The Sun newspaper about bringing a product to market

What the results mean

There are several routes forward following a comprehensive patent search. Ultimately, it will help you make great decisions about your project. Findings may include:

No prior art

If no prior art or issues were discovered, you are more likely to be granted a patent and can develop the invention with more confidence.

Limiting prior art

Similar prior art was found but an opportunity exists to develop your idea and avoid it.

Major prior art

The prior art is so similar to your idea that you choose to stop the project. It’s best to know this at the start and avoid wasting money.

Inspiring prior art

The prior art may inspire you to create an even better product.

Profitable prior art

The prior art may have already been developed into a product that you could now license and sell yourself.

Specialist Insight

Professional patent search services provide a detailed report and include a consultation to help you decide what to do next.
Innovate experts use their knowledge of the system to uncover results that may otherwise have been missed.

Worldwide Patent Search

Classification code system

The International Patent Classification (IPC) is a system of symbols for the classification of patents by relevant technology type. Our team know how to use the classification code system to find relevant patents.


Patents are written with specific wording not used commonly elsewhere. A patent research expert knows which words to search for and can identify similar terminology and synonyms to base further investigation around.

Professional software

At Innovate we use specialist software called Orbit Intelligence by Questel to execute a deep search of the patent databases which include Epo Register, Uspto and worldwide database

What idea will you search?

Give us a call, we’d love to hear from you. Call us on 020 7354 5640 or email info -at- innovate-design -dot- co -dot- uk and ask about our patent search service.

Image credits

“Businesswoman and Presenter Baroness Karren Brady and Footballer Frank Lampard attended the Stock Exchange opening.” by usembassylondon is marked with CC BY-ND 2.0. To view the terms, visit

“File:The new European Patent Office in Rijswijk.jpg” by Rob Oo is marked with CC BY 2.0. To view the terms, visit