Appleyard Lees


We find that the best business decisions in relation to Intellectual Property are usually taken by our clients who gather the best information. Most Intellectual Property rights we deal with are registered and can be searched in public records. They are collected up into many commercial databases in which efficient searching can be carried out.

We use many different types of searches, for example.

  • to determine whether patents, trade mark or designs are being kept in force
  • to assess whether an invention, trade mark or a design is protectable
  • to identify infringement risks
  • to assess whether a patent or trade mark is valid, or invalid and challengable
  • Landscape searches to assess activity in a selected technical or business area
  • Competitor searches to see what your competitors are doing and where they might be moving
  • Clearance searches, sometimes called Freedom-To-Operate (FTO) searches to clear products or brand names prior to launch, and
  • Due Diligence searches (which generally include one or more of the above) undertaken to assist a major operation, such as a business transaction (see our separate page on this)

We carry out many searches in-house but, equally, we will use acknowledged outside experts when we feel this offers the best solution for our clients.

If poor searching is carried out and a problem hits home the cost of escaping from it may be very high – far higher than the cost of the simple search which could have revealed the problem. We seek to carry out high quality searching which will give our clients reliable results. However as experienced attorneys we understand that there is a law of diminishing returns at work, whereby excessive increases in searching effort and cost yields smaller and smaller improvements in the confidence level of the results. We will always discuss the requirements with our clients and aim to find the sweet spot of confidence level and cost.