It is advisable to use professional patent search services if you can afford them. Such services typically include:
- A PATLIB (PATent LIBrary) centre. A joint initiative of the national patent offices of the EPO member states and their regional patent information centres, the PATLIB network consists of over 320 centres throughout Europe. Qualified and experienced staff can provide a range of search and other information services.
- Database searches offered by many libraries and business information services. Many of these are provided at low cost as a public service, but may not be performed by qualified or experienced patent searchers.
- Commercial search services offered by national Patent Offices. Options and costs may vary.
- Commercial search service providers. There are several major companies in this market, and many smaller specialist consultancies. See, for example, the members of PATCOM . Fees and services vary, so shop around.
Searches by patent attorneys. Fees usually vary according to the type of search you need. A patent attorney will also be able to help you interpret your search findings. This is the real skill in patent searching.
The EPO recommend to also explore the following content: