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Search for a Patent UK and Worldwide

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:

  • Checking if a patent similar to your invention already exists.
  • Checking whether patents are available to license.
  • Tracking the progress of a published patent application.

You Can Get Help From:

  • An advisor at the Chartered Institute of Patent Attorneys.
  • One of the Patent Library Centres (they have qualified staff to help you).

Note: Read more about patenting your invention if this will be the first time you are making an application.

Searching for a UK Patent

The Intellectual Property Office provides several different ways to make a search for published patent applications and registered patents.

For example:

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:

New Patent Applications (and amended patents)

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).

Search for Worldwide Patents

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:

  • Ownership (e.g. owners of patents)
  • Filed documents
  • The countries where the patent actually applies

Search for Results of Patent Decisions

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:

  • Decide whether you should dispute a patent
  • Prepare your case for a patent hearing

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