About the service

Chemical structure search includes finding a specific spatial arrangement of molecules in a given patent or non-patent document. Chemical structure searches help inventors and companies in numerous ways. For example, whenever a novel chemical structure is developed that could be highly useful in the industry, it is essential for the inventor or company to obtain a patent for it. However, before doing so, it must be ensured that the chemical structure is not already patented by conducting a Chemical Structure Search.

This type of search is particularly valuable for scientists, researchers, and professionals in chemistry, pharmaceuticals, materials science, and other disciplines where the chemical composition and structure of substances are of paramount importance.

The goal of a chemical structure search is to retrieve relevant information, such as patents, research articles, chemical databases, or product catalogs, that contain substances with structures matching the query. Researchers use these searches to identify known chemical compounds, polymers to assess the novelty of their discoveries, locate prior art in patent databases, and explore chemical databases for compounds with similar structures.

The key components of a chemical structure search are

Chemical Structure

The search query typically begins with a chemical structure representation, which is a graphical or textual depiction of the arrangement of atoms and bonds within a molecule or compound. This representation can be in the form of chemical diagrams (e.g., molecular formulas, skeletal structures, or 2D/3D molecular models) or chemical notation (e.g., SMILES notation, Mol files).

Search Algorithm

Chemical structure search relies on specialized search algorithms and databases capable of understanding and interpreting chemical structures including Markush structure. These algorithms can compare the query structure to structures stored in the database and identify matches or similarities.

Matching Criteria

Users can specify matching criteria, such as exact match, substructure match, similarity threshold, or other specific requirements depending on the search's purpose. For example, an exact match search will retrieve only those records with the exact same chemical structure, while a substructure search will find records containing a specified structural fragment.

Chemical structure search tools have become indispensable in the field of chemistry, enabling scientists to efficiently access and analyze vast amounts of chemical data, discover new molecules, assess their properties, and advance research in various scientific domains.


The methodology of chemical structure search involves broadly scoping, understanding, searching, analysis, and reporting.

Scope of the Project

The search is conducted for the granted patents and published patent applications and non-patent literature published worldwide.

The Chemical structure search is conducted in three phases, following a structured approach

Step 1

Understanding the Technology

In this initial phase, we immerse ourselves in the domain of interest, gaining a deep understanding of the structure features provided by the Client.

Step 3

Analysis and Reporting

A detailed analysis of the identified results (from Step 2 above) is performed in order to locate the key references. We also provide relevant excerpts/claims for the identified references in the search report.

Step 2


We perform a comprehensive search on patent and non-patent databases

Our search strategies encompass :

  • (A) Keyword based Searching :

  • We perform a comprehensive search on patent databases using

  • Keyword-based searching

  • Class-based searching for example, IPC/USC/CPC;

  • Citation searching

  • Assignee/Inventor-based searching etc.

  • For patent Literature, we use one or more of the following patent databases: Orbit (from Questel), Patseer (covers ~100 jurisdictions worldwide), Derwent Innovation (covers ~100 jurisdictions worldwide), inPASS, USPTO, Espacenet, and Google patent.

    We perform a comprehensive search on non-patent databases using

  • Keyword based searching

  • Afflation/Author based searching

  • For non-patent literature searches cover pertinent databases such as ScienceDirect, PubChem, Pubmed, CiteseerX, Google, Google Scholar, etc. to retrieve relevant prior art.

  • (B) Structure-based Searching:

  • Strategy 1 : Structure search on publicly available databases such as PubChem (includes patent), SureChEMBL, Patent Scope and ChemSpider.

  • Strategy 2 : Structure search on publicly available databases + CASLINK database cluster (includes MARPAT, CAPLUS, & REGISTRY) using STN as database host to locate patent references that disclose the structure of interest.

Deliverables  MS Excel-based deliverable including the Granted patents and published patent applications and comprising the following broad sections:
1. Project Overview/Methodology : This section covers the details of the project and the Methodology adopted by the Analyst(s) during the course of the project along with the Assumptions (if any).
2. Relevant references : This section includes the Granted patents and Published patent applications related to the technology along with their relevant claims/text and structure(s). This section includes the key features found in the identified patents and Published patent applications (feature matrix).
3. Search Log : This section include the Search strings used to identify the relevant dataset.

Why Choose us?

There are several compelling reasons to choose Effectual Services for your Chemical Structure search needs

"At Effectual, we have successfully delivered 500+ Chemical Structure search projects worldwide in various branches of science for gathering and analyzing the latest advancements and innovations in specific scientific fields such as Pharma, biotechnology, chemistry etc.

As a leader in IP services, we bring proven expertise, cutting-edge technology, and a commitment to your success.

"Unlock Innovation and Stay Ahead of the Curve! Choose Effectual Services for Chemical Structure Search Today."

Join hands with us and experience the difference. Contact us today to explore how we can make your projects a resounding success!

Call to Action

Case Study

Novel Drug Discovery


The client was looking for novel chemical compounds with potential therapeutic applications in the treatment of a specific disease. They needed to perform a comprehensive patent chemical structure search to identify any existing patents related to similar compounds.


Our team conducted an extensive search across various patent databases, including the United States Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO), European Patent Office (EPO), and World Intellectual Property Organization (WIPO). We used advanced search algorithms and semantic analysis to identify chemical structures related to the target disease. Our search also includes synonyms and variations of the chemical compounds.


We successfully identified several patents related to compounds with potential therapeutic value for the client's target disease. This allowed the client to avoid infringement issues and provided them with valuable insights for their drug discovery efforts.

Chemical Process Optimization


The client wanted to optimize their existing chemical manufacturing process to increase efficiency and reduce costs. They needed to identify patented processes and technologies that could be integrated into their operations.


Our team conducted a thorough search of patent databases, focusing on chemical processes, reaction mechanisms, and catalysts relevant to the client's industry. We utilized both text-based and structure-based search techniques to identify relevant patents.


We identified several patented processes and technologies that could be integrated into the client's manufacturing operations. By leveraging these patents, the client was able to streamline their processes, reduce waste, and achieve substantial cost savings.

Chemical Structure Search for Formulation Development


The client needed to identify and analyze existing patents related to specific chemical compounds and their combinations suitable for use in an industrial cleaning formulation. They wanted to ensure that their proposed formulation was unique and not infringing on existing patents.


Our team conducted a targeted chemical structure search across patent databases, utilizing advanced cheminformatics tools and databases that store chemical structures and their associated patents. We used the chemical structures and descriptors provided by the client to perform a similarity search and identify patents that matched their criteria.


We identified several relevant patents that contained chemical structures similar to those proposed by the client. Our detailed analysis included a side-by-side comparison of the client's formulation and the patented compounds. This helped the client make informed decisions about adjusting their formulation to avoid potential patent infringement while still achieving their desired performance characteristics.

Client testimonial

"We've been working with the Effectual Services team for several years now, and they have consistently exceeded our expectations. Their expertise in patent searching has been instrumental in our drug discovery efforts. Their comprehensive searches have saved us valuable time and resources by helping us avoid potential patent infringements. We highly recommend their services to any pharmaceutical company looking for precise and reliable patent analysis."

Pharmaceutical Client

"The team at the Effectual Services played a pivotal role in our process optimization journey. Their ability to identify patented processes and technologies that aligned with our needs was impressive. Thanks to their insights, we were able to streamline our manufacturing operations and significantly reduce production costs. Their services have proven to be an invaluable asset to our business."

Chemical Manufacturing Client


Pharmaceutical companies and researchers often need to perform chemical structure searches to identify potential drug candidates, assess their safety profiles, and determine their effectiveness in treating specific diseases. Food scientists and flavor chemists employ chemical structure searches to identify and characterize flavor compounds, food additives, and natural compounds in food products, contributing to product development and quality control. The cosmetic industry utilizes chemical structure searches to identify safe and effective ingredients for skincare, haircare, and cosmetics.

A chemical structure search is used to identify specific compounds or substances, whether for research, product development, quality control, or regulatory compliance. Pharmaceutical companies and researchers often conduct chemical structure searches to discover potential drug candidates, analyze their properties, and assess their suitability for specific therapeutic purposes. The agricultural industry uses chemical structure searches to identify effective agrochemicals, pesticides, herbicides, and fertilizers for crop protection and enhancement.

Here are the main advantages of conducting a chemical structure search:
  • Compound Identification Chemical structure searches allow you to identify and locate specific chemical compounds, making it easier to work with and understand the properties and characteristics of those compounds.
  • Research and Development Researchers and scientists can use chemical structure searches to discover new compounds, materials, and potential drug candidates, accelerating the innovation process.
  • Environmental Analysis Environmental scientists and regulators use chemical structure searches to monitor and analyze pollutants, contaminants, and chemicals in ecosystems, facilitating environmental risk assessment and management.
  • Materials Discovery Materials scientists can identify or design new materials with specific properties using chemical structure searches, enabling innovations in fields like electronics, aerospace, and energy.
  • Drug Discovery Pharmaceutical companies use chemical structure searches to find potential drug candidates, analyze their structures, and assess their therapeutic properties, streamlining drug development pipelines.
  • Forensic Analysis Forensic experts rely on chemical structure searches to identify substances found in crime scene samples, enabling the resolution of criminal cases and toxicological investigations.

A chemical structure search is primarily focused on identifying specific chemical compounds or substances based on their molecular structure or chemical formula. It involves searching databases, literature, or chemical libraries to locate compounds with particular structural features. A prior art search study is centered around identifying existing knowledge, publications, patents, or publicly available information related to a specific technology or invention. It aims to determine if a proposed invention is novel by comparing it to prior art.

Yes, a chemical structure search can be tailored to specific geographic regions or jurisdictions, especially when conducting searches related to patent applications, regulatory compliance, or market analysis.

A chemical structure search can provide several significant benefits to your business, depending on your industry and specific goals such as Product Development and Innovation, Intellectual Property Protection, Quality Control and Compliance, Research and Collaboration, etc.

The confidentiality of information obtained in a chemical structure search depends on several factors, including the source of the information, the purpose of the search, and the terms of any agreements or regulations governing the use of the data.

Yes, a chemical structure search can be a valuable tool in making informed decisions about patent filings. Here's how it can assist in the patent filing process: Assessing novelty, avoiding patent infringement, defining the scope of your invention, strategic decision-making etc.

The time it takes to complete a chemical structure search can vary significantly depending on several factors, including the complexity of the search, the availability of relevant databases. It can take anywhere from a few weeks to a few months.

Whether you should conduct a chemical structure search on your own or hire a professional service depends on several factors, including your expertise, the complexity of the search, the resources available, and the importance of the results. For complex searches involving intricate chemical structures, multiple parameters, or extensive data analysis, hiring a professional service with expertise in chemical structure searches can save time and yield more accurate results. If you have tight deadlines or need results quickly, hiring a professional service can expedite the process and provide timely results.
Get in Touch