Prior art search - freedom to operate search

Patent search in Germany and Europe

You have made an invention and want to get an overview of the state of the art? Or do you need material for an opposition proceeding against a patent of a competitor? There are various reasons to conduct a patent search. With us you are sure to find the right research.

Prior art search

With a patent search for published prior art we check whether a particular invention is already known (in any country in the world) or whether the invention has to be regarded as being obvious. Thus, it is possible to estimate the chances of grant of a planned patent application quite well in advance and you can avoid risking a rejection of your application. Also, a prior art search allows you to adjust the claims of an imminent patent application to certain aspects of a technology and thus improve the chances of grant.

 

Search for material for an opposition

If you need material for an opposition against a patent of a competitor, we will find the right documents for you. To this end, we search in worldwide databases for patent literature as well as relevant publications in  literature. At best, it can be demonstrated with the documents found that the alleged invention of the competitor has been granted unjustified, so that the patent will be revoked in opposition proceedings for lack of patentability.



Freedom to operate search (FTO Search)

By means of an FTO search it is checked whether a particular invention is already protected by a third party’s patent, which could prohibit the marketing of the product. I.e., a search for registered patent rights shows, whether you are entitled to manufacture, offer or use a product commercially. The risk of a legal dispute with a competitor can thus be reduced in advance. Moreover, an FTO Search allows you to develop workarounds that do not fall under the scope of competitor’s patent.

Costs

You may basically set the costs of a search yourself, because the price depends on the effort and time our search professional uses for you. A Beginner’s search, which gives you a good overview of the prior art, starts from 900 €. For an extended, time-extensive research, a budget of € 1,500 to 2,000 € should be planned. In important cases, where a patent shall be attacked in opposition proceedings or revoked in connection with a patent infringement lawsuit, we search very extensively, optionally also in technical papers (non-patent literature) or through various colleagues in national databases of patent offices worldwide in the local language (eg. in Russian or Chinese). To accomplish this, realistically a budget of € 3,000 – € 5,000 should be allowed for. Please inquire for a personal offer for your patent search.

Search strategy

Our search strategy usually involves a combination of the following methods:

  • Patent Classification (IPC, CPC, ECLA or USPC), either separately or combined for specific subgroups.
  • Keyword searches (without class restriction)
  • Keyword searches in conjunction with classes
  • Citation search
  • Non-patent Literature Search with keywords
  • In addition, we may search by applicant / inventor / owner

The search strategy is generally adapted to searched subject and the available budget.

For more info, please contact one of our German patent attorneys