ADVICE FOR INVENTORS
A Patent Search is always advisable before embarking on a costly journey towards successful exploitation of an Idea or Invention, but, unless only vague search terms such as "bicycle" are searched, rather than specific terms which define your idea or invention that is concerned with a bicycle, a thorough Patent Search should only be carried out after at least a conceptual description of the Idea or Invention has been filed in the form of a patent application, at the UK Intellectual Property Office (often referred to as the IPO). But even then, searching via an Examination of a filed patent application by the Intellectual Property Office, in Newport, South Wales, is more advisable, since the idea/invention, is then kept confidential, whereas searches via the Internet can reveal an idea or invention to third parties who will be able to see your search terms. Moreover, a search using vague terms via the Internet will involve viewing a large number of published patent applications.
The conceptual patent application filed at the Intellectual Property Office will thus provide you with initial protection of your intellectual property (i.e. your Idea or Invention) whilst you, investigate matters further, or we do it for you.
Thus, unfortunately, it is better to find a great deal of published information by searching on the basis of broad search terms, than by defining your Idea or Invention in the search string in order to narrow down what comes back after the search. A search based on broad search terms which do not define your Idea or Invention means that you will have to sort through the great many published patents that come back, but you will be protecting your intellectual property, by not providing information about your specific idea or invention.
A recommended procedure is to submit Claims to the Intellectual Property Office along with your patent specification, since this will provide a better search result because the Claims are what you are claiming to be your actual Invention, and they will be dealt with under the conditions of security operating at the Intellectual Property Office, which you will not get by doing a search for your idea or invention via the Internet, where anyone with an appropriate presence on Search Engines will be able to see the words in your keyword search as part of the analytics, e.g. Google Analytics, which they will have have access to.
You will, anyway, need to have a patent application on file at the Intellectual Property Office, if you want to protect your idea or invention; and please note that your idea will need to become a developed product or process with an accompanying detailed description of it filed in the form of a patent application at the Intellectual Property Office.
Take care not to define your Idea or Invention in the Title because that could be seen in a Patents Journal even though you may not wish to have the application published. It can always be changed under the advice of a Patent Examiner, so, initially, keep it broad. Also, you may not wish to let potential third parties know too much about your idea or invention so early on, so just use vague terms in the title.