Novelty and Freedom to Operate (FTO) Searches

Novelty is a prerequisite for patentability, so before patenting an invention it may be advised to check whether the invention is indeed new. Novelty requirements for patents are especially strict; an invention is only deemed to be new when it has not been disclosed anywhere in the world, in other words, it has not been made available to anyone. A preliminary novelty search and patentability assessment may avoid unnecessary material expense, as it may reveal even before initiating the patent application procedure that the solution provided by the invention is known and may already enjoy patent protection. On the other hand, a novelty search often identifies such ready, but as yet unused solutions, which render further research and developments unnecessary, since in certain cases it may be more worthwhile to purchase or enter into a licence agreement for the existing solution. In undertaking a novelty search, of course, we also look to clarify the other basic requirement for patentability, i.e. that the solution must involve inventive step, that is that it may not be obviously derived directly from the state of the art or known solutions.

A patent or FTO search may also determine whether a particular product in a given field would infringe patents owned by others. Carrying out such a patent clearance search prior to looking to commercialise a solution or technique can significantly reduce the risk of potential infringement further down the line.

We also undertake to monitor development trends, and the new players and inventions which appear within a given technical field.

A patent search in itself is just a framework, as such it is essential to specify its precise aims and the tasks to be carried out within the scope of the search. Danubia subscribes to the major international databases and our specialist patent attorneys all have extensive experience in conducting searches and preparing due diligence reports targeted to the specified aims and tasks. We meticulously document the novelty- and patent clearance searches we undertake and provide you with all critical documents.