Searches are used for a variety of purposes. They are performed on the basis of technical or creative ideas of inventors and designers or on the basis of characterising features of products or services of a company presented, for example, by the marketing department.

The search results may be used as the basis for a decision as to whether or not a company’s application for an IP right, be it a patent application, a utility model application, a design application or a trade mark application, is well-conceived and/or has good prospects of success.

Documents identified in a search as prior art may also provide valuable technical information which can help a patent attorney to draft a patent application or a utility model application in a more targeted manner to distinguish it from the prior art.

Searches can also be performed to determine whether or not the commercial activities of one company may be infringing existing IP rights of a third party, and therefore whether there is a risk of infringement proceedings. It is also important for a search to be performed to provide a basis for successful opposition proceedings or for successful revocation or cancellation proceedings.