The Search and Advisory Service at the U.K. Patent Office has made the important technical and commercial intelligence found in patents more readily accessible to all sectors of industry. The broad applicability of this information has required a wide range of patent-based investigations to be provided. These are discussed in some detail in this paper. A survey has indicated that by ignoring patent-based information, the smaller and medium sized industries, in particular, are in danger of repeating investigatory work, the results of which have been reported in earlier patent literature.
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