How to search existing patents

Before you apply for a patent, you need to check if your invention already exists.

You should search on the:

  • Internet, including Google Patents and social media
  • IP search databases, both Australian and international.

As part of the examination process, we'll also perform extensive searches. If we find a product or invention that's too similar to yours, we'll let you know.

Check the IP search databases

You can use online IP search databases to look up the details of IP rights filed by others.

The Australian Patent Search (AusPat) database contains details for patent applications and grants. There are many ways you can search -- including by invention title, applicant, inventor, WIPO (World Intellectual Property Organization) or PCT (Patent Cooperation Treaty) number, filing date and priority date.

Australian Patent Search (AusPat)

International patent search databases

International Patent Search

How to use AusPat

There are three ways you can search:

  1. Quick search
    A general search -- perfect if you're looking for a specific application or invention
  2. Structured search
    Allows you to search across and combine multiple fields across the database. This can help you narrow down the results you're interested in
  3. Advanced search
    Provides a free text input box so you can search specific, complex search queries. This search type is best suited to those who are experienced in searching for patents.

If you need help, you can follow the AusPat User Guide below.

Get help with your search

There are different support services available if you need help. Explore the options below:

Total cost: Free

Great for:

  • Small to medium enterprises that don't have legal representation.

Key things to know:

  • A dedicated patent expert from our agency will assist you at every stage of the application and/or examination process
  • They can also guide you on how to use the search tools.

Apply for a patent case manager

Conducting your own search will help you get an idea of what patents already exist.

However, looking for existing patents can be complex and time-consuming.

You may choose to consider engaging an IP attorney to help you. Many attorneys offer a range of services that you may find useful. The cost of engaging these services will be provided by the attorney firm. This will usually be dependent on the level of support and time required.

Engage an IP attorney