Guide for Innovative and Creative Minds


Found something?

If you find documents, in particular patent documents, or an identical or similar product, there are various options depending on your goal:

  • You purchase the product and save the costs of development.
  • Do you want to produce the product yourself? Is the product patented? Find out whether there are patents protecting it and if so, in which countries they are valid or whether the protection has already expired (legal status). If the patent is still valid in countries in which you want to conduct business, you need to negotiate with the owner about using their invention. Maybe you can obtain a licence to produce it. If the patent has already expired, you can use the technical information freely.
  • You can also improve the product. You do not need the permission of the patent owner to improve a patented product. You can also use patent protected information as a foundation from which to pursue your own research and development. What is illegal is commercially using a patented invention. If you wish to market the results of your further development, you need to determine to what extent the rights of the owner of the basic patent – or other patents – might overlap. It may be necessary to pay licensing fees in order to use your invention.
    The further development of the invention might also be patentable if you fulfill the necessary conditions. In particular, the further development must be clearly separate from the original invention.
  • Or you circumvent the patents you found: you can apply other technologies and solve the problem in a different way. A professional search can show you where you risk infringing other patents and where you have room to develop your own invention.



  • Patent database: It provides information on Swiss patents, published Swiss patent applications and European patents effective in Switzerland and Liechtenstein.
  • You can find the same information in the IPI’s official publication organ as in the patent database. You can also search for specific publications, such as new grants and register changes.
  • The online database of the European Patent Organisation with over a million patent documents from all over the world. You can determine whether a patent is valid and in which countries (legal status) by looking at the INPADOC Legal Status tab. To confirm the information you find, we recommend consulting the relevant foreign authority. We will be happy to do this for you. Note the information regarding patent register searches.



  • Patent register searches
  • Professional searches: Do you want to know whether a patent is protected and in which country (legal status) or whether your invention could infringe the rights of others when it is produced and marketed? Searches done by a specialist can give you the answers!