How crucial is a Novelty/Patentability search to get a Patent? And what are the cost involved ?

A patent is a legal document which provides granting of an exclusive right by a government authority to an inventor on its invention/prototype. This grant provides the inventor exclusive rights to the patented process, design, or invention for a designated period (20 years) in exchange for an all-inclusive disclosure of the invention. They are a form of incorporeal right. The patent statute tells us that any new and useful process, machine, or composition of matter, or any new and useful improvement thereof is entitled for patent protection.

In order to obtain a patent, you should first understand the difference among an idea and invention, understand your idea is patentable, determine the inventorship & ownership, developed goals, and with a bit of luck, you learned you are not banded from patenting. Once you are clear in your mind, it is now the time to do a prior-art search to determine the patentability of your idea/invention.

Similarly, a novelty search is a process for researching about the existing patents in a database to ensure your invention doesn’t already exist. The search will help you save both time and money by knowing early on whether your idea is worth pursuing or not. You must do or get a professional patent search done on the invention ensuring no overlapping of existing patent. It can avoid wasting resources in patent filings and prosecution proceedings if the invention is not unique, allowing inventor and corporation to use their budgets sensibly. The novelty search helps to recognize the nearby arts and accordingly can define the scope of defense in patent claims. If there is no prior art found at that time you can forward with drafting your patent application based on the search results. Novelty searches can also be used to help an inventor determine what is unique about the invention. If any prior art is not found that overlaps your idea, your invention can be possibly patentable.
For example, Thomas Edison did not get a patent on the straightforward idea of the light bulb. It was previously patented and consequently was in the prior art. Instead, Edison got a patent for his enhancements to the light bulb. These improvements involved a very thin filament and a reliable technique for linking the white-hot filament to the room temperature lead wires.
Further, getting a patent for your invention requires a filing process. Once you submit your patent application to the patent office, the examiner conducts a prior art search to determine if there exists any art before the filing date of the patent application that could deem your idea invalid. If such art be present, your patent application gets rejected and you might have to make some modifications in the claims of your invention, such that it does not have any overlying prior art. And if your patent application beats this phase, you will get a grant for your patent.
Patent examiners also conducted novelty search during the prosecution of a patent. However, if you feel your idea/invention is vital and should be granted a patent, it always makes sense to get a patentability/novelty search conducted by an expert earlier to ensure that your invention meets the standards of patentability. Further, this tactic makes sense since you can save a lot of resources in terms of time and money, spent on drafting, filing, and prosecution fees of the patent application.

Professional Search Fees
Patent searches fee differs as there are different approaches used by experts that may vary their charge fees. Some pick for a flat rate, while others charge an hourly charge. The hourly fee is mostly relevant in cases where you want the researcher to category through the information and give you a view on the patentability of your invention. Eventually, the fee being charged derives down to the method being used by the researcher who would perform the search.


If your invention is simple, the researcher might charge you around $400 for the search. This is in the case if you opt for a service that doesn’t offer a thorough opinion or analysis. For more complex inventions you might end up paying $1000 or more as it involves a deep examination of the domain underneath study.

Doing it yourself way sounds wonderful, however it has its own set of cons. It cannot always be said with assurance that no prior art went unsearched as the search needs skills, training, and practice. Any prior art if missed could lead to the rejection of the patent application or expiry of the granted patent at a later stage. Hence, it becomes paramount that the task is allocated to experts who know their technique in the business – aka conducting a comprehensive search. It is also tremendously important to choose the right company to do the work, whose task is to help you with your end goal and not just take up a search as a vending machine approach. In other words, you should be looking for a service provider and not a vendor to carry out your search to get the top results. To find the best vendor for the job, you may research around a bit, read some of the reviews/testimonials posted by others who have perused a particular company’s service – In short, do your homework before settling with a patent attorney for the search. The chances of getting a patent grant for your application and retentive the validity of your granted patent depends a lot upon the patent attorney you choose to conduct the search on your behalf, so choose wisely!

Related Links :

1. What patent should we apply A Design or Utility Patent? And how is Design Patent different from Utility Patent?
2. What can Patent Attorneys do in COVID-19 Pandemic disruption on the patent filing?


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