In order to be patentable an invention must be new and inventive. The Patent Offices around the world conduct searches, mainly of earlier patents, as part of their examination procedure. If they find relevant earlier documents they cite these against patent applications in order to argue that they should be refused, either on the ground of lack of novelty or that of obviousness. An earlier patentability search can anticipate examination and provide a good indication of the likelihood of a patent application being successful.
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