Searching

Patentability Search
This page contains a list of links to various searching tools and sites related to IP.

Patent Searching

It’s important to search first to check whether your idea is novel. Here are a few useful searching links and tips.

Google Patents – Unsurprisingly Google has built a very good patent searching engine.

ESPACE – The European patent office search engine. Also has many patent documents from around the world, e.g. Australia, Japan, China, PCT.

WIPO – PCT (Patent Cooperation Treaty) site including online records of all PCT applications.

IPONZ – New Zealand Patent Office site. Limited to New Zealand records only.

IP Australia – Australian Patent Office site. Limited to Australian Records Only.

ScienceDirect – General scientific journal search engine.

Patent Searching Tips

These tips may prove helpful if you are finding it difficult to locate similar things to your invention.

1.  Avoid limiting the search

Be careful to not limit your search to the specific use of your technology, e.g. the technology used in drug packaging may be the same as in fruit packaging, therefore if you have devised a new fruit packaging technique it may be necessary to also search all packaging technology.

2.  Start broad

Start searching by using a few broad key words, ideally only 2-4, that relate to your invention, e.g. if you have invented a new accelerator mechanism for a hydrogen powered car then the three key words to use may be: “vehicle, hydrogen, accelerator”. Starting with only a few words will result in a large number of hits, most which may not be relevant. The search can then be refined as you identify what words other people use to describe similar inventions.

3.  Words to use

Continue using different keywords and combinations until you begin to locate documents/sites that describe devices similar to your invention or at least in the general field. This may require you to spend significant time reading through verbose patent documents. Ensure you do not dismiss patent documents purely based on a brief read of the abstract or drawings. Abstracts often only relate to one very brief version of the thing described in the main document. It is therefore important to look at all the drawings and if they look remotely relevant, also to read the document.

4.  Refinement

When you locate a document/site that describes something similar, keyword search with some of the words that the document/site uses to describe their device/system.

5.  Record and Repeat

Every time you find a relevant document, site, video, picture or other reference, save the reference and write notes about why it was relevant and note the features of your invention that are not described in that document or site.

​Repeat steps 2-4 as you progressively refine your search and build a list of relevant ‘prior art’ references. ‘Prior Art’ refers to anything that already existed prior to your invention, e.g. all the previous potato peeling machines that existed before yours.

The goal of searching is to find prior art with all the features of your invention, or multiple prior art references that if combined would have all the features of your invention.

Talk to us and send us your notes and prior art information once you are no longer finding relevant prior art.

Trademark Searching

IPONZ – Intellectual Property Office of New Zealand site. Limited to New Zealand records only.

IP Australia – Official Australian Intellectual Property Office site. Limited to Australian records only.

WIPO Global Brand Database – The WIPO (World Intellectual Property Office) Global Brand Database. Contains trademarks from around the world and includes comprehensive search tools and filters.

Design Searching

IPONZ – Intellectual Property Office of New Zealand site. Limited to New Zealand records only.

IP Australia – Official Australian Intellectual Property Office site. Limited to Australian records only.