Patents provide a great deal of protection and increased enforcement for inventors. But before you get that patent you have to go through application process. Depending on what kind of patent you want, it could cost a few thousand dollars and take years to receive. And none of that is refundable. To avoid wasting time and money, you should search for the existing patents and pending patent that are already present in the USPTO. Than only you can have the surety of whether your patent is novel and unique or not.

Search in Person

It is beneficial to do a in person patent search whenever you can. Since it allows to be the most thorough. All major cities have patent files on hand at USPTO’s Patent and Trademark Resource center. When you can actually see the hard copy files, it is easier to take the notes on the current patents and improve and redevelop your own invention to make it more unique. Note that Patent records can be checked in the Library.

Search Online

The other option is to use the USPTO database. This database allows multiple search option and brings up full page images if you want it. Searches are usually faster in a online database, but it is hard to tell whether there’s been a glitch in the system. Always conduct atleast two searches to see if you have missed something. One of the downsides to Patent Full Text Database is how slow it runs sometimes.  It’s also fairly picky on word choice and search terms. Fortunately, Google has its own patent search, allowing you to run a free search on the patent database without having to worry about the USPTO quirkiness.

Search Effectively

One of the reason that people hire an attorney is because patent searches are time consuming even when done online. The databases offers a shortcut you can search by patent numbers. However when a patent number search wont help you find all of the similar patents or patents that perform similar function.You will have to rely on quick and advanced searches to check other categories. Here are few tips to make searching easier:

  1. Keeping good record is vital. Otherwise, you will wind up repeating your work or missing key term.
  2. Draw up list of keywords and phrases that could apply to your patent. Then begin researching each one.
  3. Avoid attempts at batch keywords. It saves time but decreases accuracy.
  4. Make note of your results. you will see significant amount of overlap, so make note what you have searched and you have found so you dont’ overlook anything important.

How to search for Existing Patents?

The internet can help you both the novice and seasoned inventors deal with potential roadblock before too much time and effort is invested. Has anyone else come up with a similar idea or invention ? The answer is a patent search of United Patent Office, either online or in a person. A patentability search is conducted by examining published patents that relate to your own invention to figure out whether your idea has been already patented. You can see also similar inventions, allow you to improve and refine your invention without infringing on someone else’s patent. And you can do all this before you have spent many hours and thousand of dollar’s on an idea that you cant patent. For convenience of public the USPTO maintains a library in major cities around the country where you can identify patents that sound similar to your idea and examine the patent in hard copy format.

You can also access U.S. Patent application online. While internet patent searching is a valuable tool, it may be limited by your experience or by the content of some databases. Once your idea passes the preliminary patent search, you may want to hire a professional patent searcher. Some are licensed to practice by the USPTO, which is preferable though more expensive.