In this global economy, it is the responsibility of inventors to check not only prior art and patentability in their own country but also published patents and applications in other countries. This is even more critical if the inventor wishes to patent in other countries. Online access to global patent documents can be found with the European Patent Office's (EPO) platform espacenet and with the World Intellectual Property Office's (WIPO) PatentScope.
New users are encouraged to run through video tutorials on patents provided through esp@cenet's Get Assistance links. These are excellent tools for learning the basics of patents worldwide and searching them. The modules include self-testing of understanding.