Conduct A Professional Patent Search
What is a Patent Search?
- A common misconception is that if an invention is not on the market there must not be a patent for it. This is completely false. There are many patented ideas that never reach the marketplace.
- A patentability search is a search for published documents, referred to as prior art, that are similar to the invention for which you are trying to obtain a patent. Prior art references are publications such as patents, patent applications, trade journals, and other publicly available and searchable documents, even websites.
Why do a Patent Search?
- Patentability searches are optional, but inventors are encouraged to conduct a search for their invention because it serves at least three benefits.
- First, if the search uncovers a patent describing very similar features to your invention, you could save yourself the cost of filing a more costly non-provisional patent application and you can rethink your business strategy.
- Second, it gives you an idea of any blocking patents and patent applications already out there to help you design around the rights of others to take the current state of the technology to the next level.
- Third, the patent search can help potential investors and licensees in evaluating your invention.
Can I conduct my own search?
What about a professional search?
- A general description of the invention is typically sent to a patent search firm.
- The search firm conducts a search through patent databases to uncover prior art references, i.e., known and pre-existing patents and other documents.
- The prior art references are reviewed by a patent attorney who then provides an opinion of the likelihood of patentability based on the prior art references uncovered. Sometimes, the patent attorney will also address any obvious infringement problems as well.
How much does a professional search cost?
- Costs will vary depending on the complexity of invention, number of references uncovered, proximity of references to the invention, etc.