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Requesting Your Search and Examination

There are strict rules on when and how to request your search and examination conducted by the IPO. They will then carry out a patent search and 'substantive examination' on your invention.

It is prudent to work with a patent attorney or advisor. You can find professional representation by searching the Chartered Institute of Patent Attorneys (CIPA) website.

Requesting and paying for a patent search and ‘substantive examination’ is an integral part of patenting your invention.

But, you should be aware that:

  • A request for the search can take place (either):
    • At the same time as the application.
    • At a later date during the process.
  • A request for your search MUST occur within twelve (12) months of the filing or priority date.
  • An examination request MUST occur within six (6) months of publication.

Note: The Intellectual Property Office (IPO) will carry out a patent search. The main purpose is to check whether the invention is in fact ‘new and inventive’ as claimed by the applicant.

UK IPO Patent Search

You would need make the request and the payment for your search within one (1) year of your filing date or your priority date.

The Intellectual Property Office (IPO) will send the results of your search to you. They would also notify you if any part of your application is incorrect. Be aware that a search report can take up to six (6) months to complete.

Note: The IPO patent fact sheets provide further advice and guidance on how they conduct search reports.

Publication of a Search Application

As a rule, the IPO will publish your application eighteen (18) months from your filing or priority date. Publication of a patent search would only take place for a complete application that has passed the search.

The open part of a patent search application includes the address of the applicant. Thus, it would be available for the public to view it in the patents journal and the IPO records.

Note: You can check the patents journal to search patent information held by the Intellectual Property Office in United Kingdom.

Patent Application Substantive Examination

The purpose of the exam is to check whether the invention is new and if it is inventive enough. The checks also confirm whether the description and claims match and are in fact good enough to grant a patent.

There are certain legal requirements to meet when you request your search and examination. The results of the exam show if the application meets the criteria… and what steps to follow if not.

You might be wondering:

Despite having to request an examination of your patent application within six (6) months of publication, they can actually take place several years after filing the application.

Applying for a Search and Examination

There are several ways to make your application for the search and examination. You can choose to apply for both online, by postal methods, or by fax.

Apply Online

Applying online means requesting your search and examination can take place (either):

Note: The request for a search MUST take place within twelve (12) months of the filing or priority date. Whereas, the examination MUST occur within six (6) months of publication.

Apply by Post or by Fax

There is a specific form to send an application by postal methods or by fax. You would need to fill in patent form 1 to request the grant of a patent.

Request a Search and Examination: Patenting Your Invention