Before you begin the process of applying for a patent, a search is necessary. A patent search gives peace of mind that your invention, process, or plan is eligible to be awarded a patent. Conducting a patent search is through the US patent office database. However, this consumes a considerable amount of time and effort especially if you don’t have experience in getting around the system.
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You can save yourself the trouble by enlisting a professional to handle the paperwork and extensive research for a smooth patent application. The system is computerized allowing searching online. Alternatively, the search is possible in the USPTO’s Patent and Trademark Depository Library for publications related to patents.
Things you should know about a patent search
To do or not to do a patent search
When filing a patent application, you’re likely to have some basic questions. The first thing to come to your mind is whether to do the search or not. Perhaps you’re wondering what happens if you don’t search or when you find nothing. Equally important is to understand what you’re to do in case your invention doesn’t qualify for a patent. There is no requirement that all US inventors have to do a patent search before their patent application.
No wonder some new inventors become confused doing the patent search and finding prior art. That would require disclosure of the prior art to the patent examiner to avoid getting accused of fraud. Keep in mind that a search for prior art is not necessary. It is optional, you just have to pass on relevant prior art you can save yourself the trouble by enlisting the services of a patent search vendor to handle this for you.
Prepare for bad news
Never hesitate to do a patent search for fear of finding bad news. In case everything is good, you will have nothing to withhold from the patent office. You will have had no bad news to reveal in the first place. It would be disastrous to wait for patent search results while having to make adjustments to the invention. This delays filling the application at the patent office. The office also does a patent search. There’s a possibility of getting bad news that limit getting a patent for your invention.
You wouldn’t want to get the bad news after spending a considerable amount of time, money, and effort to prepare the patent application. Additionally, you will have spent a long time waiting to get the first notice from the patent examiner and spent on manufacturing and marketing your invention expecting exclusive rights. When you discover that you can’t get a patent, your application will have told competitors how to make and use your invention. This gives competitors a chance to exploit your idea with impunity knowing that you don’t hold a patent.
A thorough search is necessary
Doing a patent search allows knowing any clear defects to the invention before committing to getting a patent for it. This is very important before you pay a huge amount in maintenance fees for maintaining the invention that got the issued patent. A patent search doesn’t guarantee that no prior art is available to hinder you from getting the patent.
The thorough search looks for prior art in a native language on databases throughout the world. Care is taken to ensure that the search is diverse as possible and leaves no stone unturned. DIY searches are likely to find nothing about the invention. This is because the search is likely to miss out on some key components. Relying on professional assistance gives peace of mind that the patent search has not left out some things related to your invention.
Discovering barring art
After a thorough patent search, there’s a possibility of discovering barring art before you file the patent application. Search vendors just find whatever is available to the public in a particular period. When tons of prior art comes up in a search, it is impossible to get a patent. Luckily, it saves you from spending money, effort, and time on preparing and filing a patent application to be rejected promptly.
Ironically, losing out during a patent search gives you a thorough review of existing art. This gives you a chance to improve your invention after noticing unforeseen aspects of the prior art. You now get an opportunity to brainstorm ideas that focus on making your invention unique. Getting back on the drawing board allows outing together the missing pieces to make progress with your art.
A patent search is a necessary step before filing a patent application. Enlisting the services of a professional search vendor allows getting a thorough search. This gives peace of mind that no stone has been left unturned. A thorough search determines whether to move forward with the patent application process or not.