Saturday, December 12, 2009

Steps to Conduct a Patent Search


A patent refers to the right granted to an inventor for discovering any new machine, useful process or a manufacturing item. This right gives patent holder the right to prohibit others from using, making, patent sales or selling in US the claimed invention in patent exchange for full disclosure of invention. A patent is a simple way of protecting any discovery or invention.

For conducting a patent search, there are few things that are needed such as US patent applications, patent marketing services, patent file histories, patent referral services, patent software and patent searching service. Here we provide you with some steps that need to be followed for conducting a patent search.

Conduct self-search
  • First determine which kind of patent you want to seek. Utility patent covers up functional facets of invention whereas the design patent covers up only the appearance of invention.
  • Access patent database online like the ones offered by U.S. PTO (Patent and Trademark Office) and IBM. Find out the most important categories and sub-categories for the invention.
  • Read out class descriptions in database for finding out, which are the ones that hold immense significance.
  • Review all the patents that are issued within the categories or classes.
  • Carry out the keyword searches for the potential invention. Don’t leave any stone unturned.
  • Gather your entire patent search results in report.
Hire Professional Experts
  • You need to know the options first—a patent attorney or patent agent or lay searcher. Patent agent is the one having a technical training and is licensed by U.S. PTO for preparing the US patent applications. For finding out patent searchers, you can have a look in yellow pages under the category of ‘Patent Searchers’.
  • Make use of the searcher’s services proficiently. Do this by offering the searcher with complete and clear description of your discoveries or invention along with drawings.
  • Analyze the searcher’s response methodically.
Warnings and Tips
  • You mustn’t be concerned about compromising your invention’s trade secrets while corresponding with the professional searcher. The information exchanged is regarded as confidential.
  • Most of the search reports include the following: description of the invention or discovery provided by searcher for confirming absolute understanding of the invention and to just indicate what has been searched; list of references and patents discovered at the time of search, brief discussion about found patents and the references etc.
  • In order to have a thorough patent search with utmost accuracy you should be well aware about all the practices and techniques related to it. It is better to gather further information on the matter before you try your hands on it.
  • Always try to have legal references and seek consultation from a patent attorney. This will guide you to up-to-date and comprehensive information.
  • Inadequate or incomplete patent searches can simply waste money and time. Search comprehensively to ensure your plan is patentable and doesn’t infringe on the patents, which are in effect.
Sources: I. Videos Gone Viral, II. The Car Junky, III. The Tech Fanatic

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