In the early stages of development for invention, the inventor will need knowledge about how to do a patent search. This is the process of searching past and active patents to ensure someone doesn’t already have a patent for your invention. Patent searching is an involved and time-consuming process, but a necessary part of your patent application process. It makes sense to do this upfront before filing a patent and wasting considerable time and/or large sums of money.
As a guide, a patentability search gives you a strong indication of whether the PTO will grant a patent for your invention. If past history suggests you will qualify for a patent, you can go ahead with investing more resources in your invention. However, if you don’t think it isn’t likely, move on and cut your losses. It can provide a background by using sample patents in the field to display prior art references. This can give you valuable information about your invention and making it better.
Search Online Using the Internet
There are tools that can assist you with how to do a patent search. The internet makes it possible to do a preliminary patent search on the USPTO patent search database. There is also a patent search engine that was recently launched by Google. These sources allow keyword based searches to find an existing patent that comes close to your invention. You can retain the services of a patent attorney or agent to get it done quickly. On the other hand, doing it yourself can be done inexpensively.
Hire A Patent Professional
There are people that know how to do a patent search and do it for a living. These professionals are a lay searcher, patent law attorney, and patent agent. Most of them are located in the Washington, DC or Virginia area as this is close to the PTO and depository libraries. Lay searchers will cost about half the cost, but they don’t have to be licensed. So you should exhibit more care in choosing them.
Patent attorneys and agents are more qualified because they are both licensed by the PTO to
prepare and file patent applications. The only difference between them is that the patent attorney can bring and defend litigation in court. The best way to choose is by personal referral by someone in the same field.
Prepare For The Costs
While learning how to do a patent search doesn’t cost you anything, to actually conduct patent search might. The services of a patent lawyer do not come for free and you will be charged for the patent search and analyzing the results of the intellectual property. The cost of a professional may cost up to $1,500 and is why some people avoid doing one. There have been instances where patent searches cost more than preparation and filing of the application itself.
Learning how to do a patent search can save you time when it comes to the patent application. You need to map out your strategy of where to search and who will do it. This can include a combination of do it yourself or getting professional help.