Search patent is one of the most basic thing an inventor has to do when applying for patent. Search patent enables the inventor to know if his invention is already patented or not. Search patent can determine if the proposed invention merits the patentability as set by the statutory conditions.
The most basic place to do search patent is accessing database of the US Patent and Trademark Office worldwide. There are designated patent libraries which one can use too. During search patent, an inventor should compare a collection of prior patents, printed publications, journals or other technical articles with the invention. These references serve as basis for determining the patentability of an invention. But before doing so, he or she must examine each of these “references” in order to ensure that they are valid.
Purposes in Conducting Search Patent
- Find out if invention is patentable.
Search patent helps determine if the invention can be patented or somebody has made a prior claim on the invention before. This way, search patent can prevent you from investing valuable time, energy and money on unpatentable invention.
- Avoid patent infringement.
Search patent will enable the inventor to prevent costly lawsuits due to patent infringement on someone else’s patent.
- Find similar patents.
Search patent will help you generate ideas on similar products on how to improve your existing design. You may have little idea on what are the recent innovations pertaining to your invention or what other experts in the field have already developed. Search patent will bring you up to date on the state of the art.
- Protect your patent.
When writing a patent application, the search patent can aid the attorney in knowing what the most similar patents cover. If you file a patent without using comprehensive search patent you risk another previous inventor coming forward and invalidating your invention.
- Marketing your invention.
If you don’t yet have a patent, the best way to sell a license is a strong patentability opinion from a patent attorney. Search patent may help show that the idea can be patented and licensed.
Search patent may also enable the inventor to apply for a patent despite prior art claims. In some instances, certain elements of the proposed invention (embodiments), but not all, will be patentable. A prior Search patent and Opinion allows the inventor to identify the patentable elements and file a patent application which avoids the prior art and prevents any patent infringement.