Before applying for a provisional application for your invention, you should conduct a search to see if there is anything similar in the market place.
Searches can be conducted using online databases for patents by yourself or an intellectual property (IP) professional.
Your invention must be kept secret until you have applied for patent protection. You can still talk to your employees, business partners or advisers about your invention, but make it clear that the information is to be kept confidential. You may even consider having them sign a non-disclosure agreement.
A search you conduct yourself is free
A search conducted by an IP Professional will attract their fees
Length of search process
There is no set time for the search to be conducted.