A patent search is an early, prerequisite step in the process of filing a patent application. The primary intent of a patent search is to find out if anyone has previously invented your idea. However, especially for a new inventor, the costs for hiring a patent attorney or a patenting company, such as InventHelp, to conduct the patent search may be – in itself – more than the inventor can afford.
A patent search by an attorney or company can run up to $1,000 and more, especially if your invention is in what’s called a “crowded” field of art – that is, lots and lots of products in the same field of your invention.
Thankfully, over the last few years, the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO) and other organizations have put sizable chunks of patent databases online – free for everyone’s review and search.
The two databases that I personally find most valuable are:
1. The service provided directly by the USPTO.
2. A phenomenal service offered by Google. The Google Patent Search tool covers the entire collection of USPTO patents issued from the 1790s to the present day.
Conducting the patent search
With the above two patent-search tools (and others) at your disposal, how do you go about conducting a patent search? Instead of me reinventing the wheel here, there are some great step-by-step tutorials on the Web that will give you the paths to follow. These tutorials are free and unbiased, as they’re authored by two fine, reputable educational institutions: the University of Texas and Penn State University.
I hope the above information sheds some light on the patent search process. With the above free patent search tools and the free patent search tutorials, you should have the resources you need to conduct a thorough patent search that will become the foundation of your patent application. And save yourself a lot of money in the process. However, if all this sounds confusing and time consuming you can always hire professional help for your new invention idea and let the agency do the heavy lifting.