Search for a patent
Search AusPat - our Patent Search Database
Before you apply for a patent, it is important to conduct a comprehensive search for patent information. This step in the application process helps you to avoid wasting time and money by duplicating work that's already been done.
AusPat changes for IP Reform
AusPat changes will be made on 2 March 2013 in relation to the IP Laws Amendment (Raising the Bar) Act 2012. It is important to understand these changes and our search functionalities.
Using the International Patent Classification to search
The International Patent Classification (IPC), is a tool used by many patent offices around the world to classify patent documents. The IPC is divided along broad technological lines into eight sections. These eight sections are then further subdivided. In total, the IPC has approximately 70,000 subdivisions. Each subdivision is represented by a symbol consisting of Arabic numerals and letters of the Latin alphabet.
The relevant IPC symbols (often called 'IPC marks') for any patent document are selected by the national or regional patent office that publishes the patent document. The IPC marks are shown on each patent document (published patent applications and granted patents).
Why should I search?
Searching patent information can help you to avoid wasting time and money duplicating work that's already been done.
More than 40 million patent documents have been published, with almost a million new disclosures added each year.
Each patent document has a unique identifying number and includes a detailed description of an invention, usually with drawings, and information about the inventor and applicant.
Reasons to search
Performing a search prior to applying is vital as it helps you to:
- determine whether you can protect your IP i.e. does your invention meet the various requirements for successful grant of a patent?
- determine whether you are infringing someone else's IP
- learn about the competition or for research purposes
- determine who owns an item of IP
- check that your IP is not being infringed
- obtain product information on your competitors
Each of these reasons focuses on distinct legal questions. Often different databases and other relevant sources need to be searched thoroughly. This is because it is not possible to give a 100 per cent guarantee that your patent will not breach one previously granted. In other words you are limiting your results by relying solely on a single database search for a patent. Find out more information about types of searches.
Get professional help to search
Our search databases provide an important step in your patent application process. For any specific assistance or to seek advice you can contact an IP professional.
When engaging a professional searcher such as a patent attorney or search agent, it is important for you to understand the various search objectives and work out the type of search you will need. It can be economical to conduct a number of searches simultaneously.
Last Updated: 24/5/2013