In most cases, it is free to carry out the search of a patent in the United Kingdom. You can explore registered or pending patents, as well as patent applications, via online facilities.
This section explains how to search for existing patents and find out whether an idea is already patented. Further searches can help you determine if a patent is expired or still in force.
PATENT SEARCH: The information and services you can probe, include:
Note: Read more about patenting your invention if this will be the first time you are making an application.
The Intellectual Property Office provides several different ways to make a search for published patent applications and registered patents.
Note: If you have the correct number, you will be able to make a Supplementary Protection Certificate Search through the Intellectual Property Office (IPO).
But, separate lists exist for searches of:
You can search information on filed applications from journals dating from October 2006 in the patents journal. It contains updated details of new UK patent applications and changes made to the register (every Wednesday).
An Espacenet patent search allows you to look for published patent applications and for registered patents. The comprehensive database includes worldwide UK patents as well as further details about:
You can make searches for decisions from previous patent hearings. Finding patent hearing decisions can help you defend your intellectual property following intellectual property disputes.
Determining the decisions and outcomes from similar cases can help you to:
Note: The IPO online services allow you to search for patent hearings from 1998 onwards. They list the decisions made before 1998 by year only, so they would need to be searched manually.
How to Search for a Patent in United Kingdom