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Patent preliminary searches

The three conditions for patentability are novelty, inventive step and industrial application.

Novelty and inventive step are assessed in regard to the state of the art, that is, “all that was made available to the public before the date of application, by oral or written description, use or any other means”.

Patent prior art search may be conducted on Espacenet. Several search methods are available: by application or publication number, by name of the right holder or inventor, or by keywords. A classification search is also possible, but much more complex.

Prior patents which are displayed following this search must be considered as “scientific” publications for the purpose of assessing patentability of your invention.

Yet, in order to assess freedom to operate of an innovation, it is necessary to analyse the scope of the patent, which is defined by the claims. French patents are rarely available on Espacenet. You may consult the German patent website on which you may find French published patents.

You should also check whether the patent is still in force on the following websites:

– For French patents, and French part of European patents: the INPI database (available in English), on which you may check the payment of the annual fees

– For European patents: Epoline , on which you may check the payment of the annual fees plus the whole examination procedure

You may also consult the procedure of US patents on the USPTO website, and the PCT on OMPI .

In order to assess novelty and inventive step of your invention as well as its freedom of use, it is highly recommended to seek assistance of an IP specialist, especially if you found prior art that may be an obstacle.

You can contact our Patent Department headed by Jean-Baptiste Thibaud.

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