Tools To Use When Preparing The Patent Search
Before obtaining a patent for something you invented, there are steps that you must take to ensure that you obtain your patent the right way.
The first step is to find out how to search for existing or pending patents, known as a patent search.
You will then need to determine if your idea will meet the patent requirements of the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office.
Their regulations state that the invention has to be original, it must have a purpose, and it must not be obvious.
It is not difficult to determine that your creation is useful, but original and obvious are a bit more difficult to prove.
A detailed, professional patent search will help you find these things out.
Why should inventors do a patent search?
There are undoubtedly some benefits of conducting a patent search. If you have an idea or have invented something, and you've done the proper research prior to employing a patent lawyer, when and if you do go with a patent attorney, they will lower a portion of their legal fees.
If someone else has already thought of your idea and it isn't in fact original, it is better to find out in the beginning of the process, so you do not spend money needlessly.
There are no-cost patent searches available - you can inquire with us about these..
Information About Patent Searches
Even though a patent search can be performed with no expense to you, it is not as easy as doing a basic keyword search on a search engine.
The U.S. Patent and Trademark Office has patents on file that date all the way back to 1790 (just a couple years before the world wide web).
Therefore, when you search for patents, you have to have a method in place - a strict set of guidelines to follow.
One hurdle to overcome when searching for a patent is that the names of things tend to change over time.
An example of this is that the term “water closet” is hardly ever used anymore. However, some patents still have that verbiage in them.
That is one reason why a Google patent search is not totally reliable, even if it is a good companion tool during patent searches.
The best place to start your search out is on the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office database where you search by classification.
According to the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office tutorial, there are main steps to make part of your preliminary search for a patent.
The first step for searching for a patent is to think of keywords that explain what the item you invented is.
Free Tools For Patent Searches
There are both online and offline tools and databases available to inventors which can aid in patent searches. Luckily, most (not all) come to you at no cost.
You'll want to get familiar first with the following resources:
Picking The Right Patent Search Database
There isn't one patent search database that suits all needs and answers all questions.
There are characteristics involved in picking the right database or tool and they are dependent on your search preference, your niche and a few other factors. Here is what you'll want to look into:
There are other aspects to picking the right database as well. Generally, you should think about what's going to be important to you and find a tool that aligns to that.
How To Do A Patent Search On Your Own
When searching for a patent, you should first think of keywords that describe your invention or idea.
Then you should use those keywords to locate initial class/subclass combinations in the Index of the U.S. Patent Classification System as well as Google's patent search and advanced patent search tools.
After you have utilized the index, make sure that the classes/subclasses are connected to the matter at hand by making use of the Classification Schedule.
Put in your US Patent Classification, pick Class Schedule, and then hit the submit button.
Be sure to do this step for all the class/subclass combinations that you utilized in the second step.
After you locate the most useful subclasses, put them to use by looking through the actual patent documents on file with the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office that are located in the Published Patent Applications Database and The Complete Patent Documents Database.
Based on this process, you will identify the necessary patent applications to obtain.
After you have obtained the necessary patent applications and complete patent forms from the databases, look over them based on their importance.
When you have the most relevant documents, look at the other documents that you have cited. This will help you discover other patents that are like yours.
Even though these free patent searches are a great perk that anyone can use, they can be overwhelming to a person that does not have a lot of knowledge about them.
If you are still unsure what to do, it is best to meet with a patent attorney.
However, if you know that your patent is original, is not obvious, and has a purpose, then you are ready to begin your provisional patent application.
Types Of Patent Searches
It is incredibly important that inventors validate whether their idea #1, is patentable; and #2, does not infringe on an existing patent or claim. There are different patent searches you can do to verify each.
Clearance Patent Search
A clearance patent search is a search for prior art that is closely connected to a product, an idea or a method.
This kind of search covers patents, patent publications, publications and industry literature.
Prior art can be alike in terms of the technological field or in terms of how the invention can help people.
A clearance search is regularly utilized to determine if something a person has invented infringes on a patent application or a patent that is already in use and if the item they invented is worthy of a patent application.
This type of search for patents also shows a large amount of highly relevant prior art, it may be utilized to counsel an inventor when they need to not continue with getting a patent application for their creation and keep them from losing the money they would lose if they attempted to get a patent.
Also, a clearance search can find a patent that is currently out-of-date for an item like you want to patent, which leaves you, the inventor, opportunity to freely apply to patent your invention.
Novelty Patent Search
The next step of search is a novelty patent search.
A novelty patent search is performed to find out if something someone invented meets the definition of novel, helpful, and not obvious.
It is one of the common and one of the most very important kind of searches and needs to be carried out no matter how high the chance of a person getting a patent is.
This type of search makes looking for a patent easier, but also helps to strengthen a person’s creation against issues of validity.
They are often under before a patent application is filled out to determine if the intellectual property or creation is unique or novel enough to get a patent.
Validity Patent Search
The last search type I am going to discuss in this article is a validity patent search.
A validity patent search focuses on determining the search strategy and the databases utilized, and, it also on looking through patent databases and also international non-patent literature published prior to the filing date of the patent in question.
These publications that are searched for can be essential in determining how unique and useful something that was invented and patented is.
With the information on how to perform a proper search for patents and the different types of these searches, you, the person who has invented something, has taken the first important steps in getting a patent and possibly marketing your creation to possibly help the rest of the world be creative as well.
If you are new to this, get some help with patents and patent searches that are related to inventions - it's free or nominal in cost!
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