Patent novelty searches are fundamentally divided into 4 different types, each requiring extremely variable times and approach strategies.
- The search for an individual document retrieves the full copy of the text of an Italian or foreign patent, be it in the application state or already granted, starting from the information of its salient data, i.e. application, publication or concession number.
- The search by family gathers all bibliographic references connected to an Italian or foreign patent, which have originated from the process of a territorial expansion of rights, starting from the information of its salient data.
- The name search, which may be conducted nationally or internationally, gathers all bibliographic references connected to the name of an inventor or patent holder.
- The search by subject, which is more laborious and difficult, gathers - internationally - bibliographic references of patents pertaining to a specific technical sector. This enables an assessment of the state of the art concerning a given technical solution pertaining to a device, an apparatus or an industrial method. It allows to get a general overview of the "state of the art", i.e. to obtain information on the knowledge acquired by competitor companies in one's industry; to verify whether and where one's product can legitimately be produced and marketed without infringing others' rights; and to evaluate the degree of novelty and originality of one's technical solution in light of a possible filing of a patent application.
Novelty searches of patents will not retrieve documents filed during the 18 previous months whose text, due to legal requirements, remains secret and inaccessible to the public.