Is a patent search mandatory before filing a patent application? What are its advantages?
A patents search is not mandatory, however performing a patent search before filing a patent application will normally uncover certain granted patents/publications which belong to the same technological field as that of the invention. Conducting a patent search before proceeding to file an application for patent has many advantages some of which are identified below. nn• Patent search provides the inventor(s)/applicant with necessary information as to the strength of the invention against the currently used/existing art;n• Patent search may guide or inspire the inventor to improve his/her invention based on the disclosure provided in the prior art uncovered during the search;n• Patent search may provide necessary information to refine the claims at a later stage;n• Patent search will save money, time and effort in drafting and filing a patent application if the search result indicates that the alleged invention is already in the public domain; andn• Patent search will allow identifying corporations (which could be potential licensees) that own patents in the same technology as that of the applicant’s invention.nnConsidering the advantages of performing a patent search, a search is advisable before making a decision on filing a patent application. Patent search may also be done at conception, R and D planning and other stages in order to enable decision making.n