Patents for inventions are only granted if the invention is new and based on an inventive step. The basis for the evaluation of novelty and inventive step is given by the state of the art at the time of the filing of the patent application (search).

In the Swiss procedure, the above-mentioned criteria of novelty and inventive step are not examined. However, a non-compulsory official search may be applied for.

For European patent applications the European Patent Office examines ex officio if the conditions for granting a patent with respect to “novelty” and “inventive step” are fulfilled. The European search report includes a first opinion of the responsible patent examiner with respect to this criteria.

An carefully conducted patent search, as well as its appropriate consideration when marking off the scope of protection, form an essential basis of a legally valid and enforceable patent.