Innovations and inventions are the lifeblood of progress, and protecting your unique idea is paramount. Before you rush to file a patent, an initial online patent search can save you time and money, ensuring your idea hasn’t already been patented. Here are some tips to make the most of your initial patent search.
1. Start with Google Patents
Google Patents is one of the easiest tools to use, so it is a good place to start. Google Patents is a search engine specifically designed to search and explore patents. It provides a vast collection of patents from various patent offices around the world.
2. LENS.org patent search is another a free tool serving a large segment of the global innovation community and can be a valuable resource for your preliminary search.
3. U.S. Patent & Trademark Office (USPTO)Online Tools
The USPTO has a new web-based patent search application named Patent Public Search. This tool is user-friendly and provides enhanced access to prior art. You can perform bibliographic searches (e.g., invention name, patent number) and view patent applications. The USPTO’s website also offers a range of other tools and services, such as the Global Dossier, Patent Application Information Retrieval (PAIR), and the Public Search Facility, each providing unique insights and access to patent information. Don’t forget to check international databases for global patents too.
4. Broaden Your Search with Fee-Based Services
For a more comprehensive search, including international patents, consider using fee-based search services. These platforms, such as Delphion, Thomson-Reuters Patent Web, and PatBase, offer extensive databases and advanced search features that provide a deeper dive into global patent activity.
5. Understand Your Invention
Before starting your search, have a clear understanding of your invention. What did you create or add to from what previously existed, what is your improvement? Know its purpose, composition, and potential applications. This understanding will help you use the correct terminology and keywords in your search.
5. Use the Right Keywords
Search for a range of keywords related to your invention, including broader and narrower terms. Think about how someone else might describe your invention.
6. Analyze Found Patents Thoroughly
When you find a patent similar to your invention, don’t just read the abstract. Dive into the description and claims as they can provide a wealth of information.
7. Keep a Record of Your Searches
Document every search you do and every patent you review. This record can be helpful when discussing your findings with a patent attorney.
8. When in Doubt, Seek Professional Help
If you’re unsure or overwhelmed by the patent search process, don’t hesitate to seek professional help. Patent attorneys are skilled in conducting patent searches and can offer valuable advice.
Remember, an initial patent search is just the first step in your patent journey. Once you’ve established that your idea seems unique and potentially patentable, your next move should be to connect with a qualified patent attorney.
Our team is equipped and ready to guide you through the next stages of your patent journey. Click here or call our office at (888) 666-0062 to schedule a consultation.
**DISCLAIMER:** The information contained in this article is for informational purposes only and is not legal advice or a substitute for obtaining legal advice from an attorney.