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Our in-house specialist search team works closely with our attorneys to provide you with high quality search services. Co-ordination with our attorneys provides the search team with a good understanding of the technology, enabling us to devise appropriate search strategies to suit your budget. It also gives us flexibility to adapt the search as it progresses. We use external search agencies where appropriate, for example to benefit from their expertise in searching in a specific technical area.
Examples of the various reports and services available from our search team include:
This involves a search for granted IP rights, within a defined geographical area, to determine whether or not there are third party rights that might hinder the commercial development of a product or process. Freedom to operate search projects can vary enormously in their scope. Our team can conduct a large, comprehensive search project at one end of the spectrum or, if appropriate, they can run a quick check for IP rights held by specific competitors. We can advise on suitable search strategies and key parameters such as geographical scope. We will work to a budget to meet your requirements.
This is an early stage search to assess the patentability of an idea for which you have not yet sought patent protection. We can carry out a search based on a brief description and (if appropriate) drawings of your invention. A patentability search report can be useful for deciding whether or not to go ahead with a full patent application.
This is a more detailed search to assess the validity of specific IP rights. A validity search is often carried out before buying or licensing third party IP rights. It will include a careful review of both the patent literature and the non-patent literature. In some cases it is cost-effective to have a Patent Office carry out this sort of search if it is not required urgently. We can advise on an appropriate search strategy.
This is a search within the trade literature to assess whether or not competitors are offering products or processes which infringe your IP rights. We can arrange for evidence of use search reports to be carried out on a regular basis, to help with policing your IP estate.
This type of search typically involves a review of the number and type of patents filed and/or granted in a specific technical field. The purpose of such a search is to gain valuable competitor intelligence.
We can monitor on your behalf the status and progress of patents and applications around the world. We can also, if appropriate, assist in setting up your own in-house systems to provide you with such a watching service.
Once you have marketing approval to sell a medicinal or plant protection product, it is possible for third parties to file an application for an SPC (Supplementary Protection Certificate) based on your marketing authorisation in order to extend the term of their own patents. We can provide an SPC alert service to monitor for any such SPC applications being filed. The aim will be to provide you with an opportunity to challenge the SPC application before it is granted.