Budget Patent Search

The first thing you want to do when you have a new idea for an invention is a patent search. You’ve heard it time and again. But what how can you afford a patent search? Let’s talk about a budget patent search.

There are numerous resources on the Internet for conducting a patent search. Some charge, and some are free.

Basic Search (Google, Yahoo!, Bing)

Of course, the first thing that comes to mind when considering a patent search on a budget is one of the major Internet Search Engines, like Google, Yahoo!, or Bing. Even searching Amazon, EBay, and other retailers (Walmart.com, Homedepot.com, etc.) is a good idea. And this is a good place to start. If you find something identical to your invention already exists, then there is no point spending any money for a professional patent search.

But inventors get into trouble when they don’t find it on their Internet search and conclude that it doesn’t already exist.

Free Internet Search (Google Patents)

It seems that every inventor has heard of Google Patents. And one would think that the ultimate Internet Search Engine must also be the ultimate patent search, right? Wrong. I’ve often found patents on the US PTO that I cannot find on the Google Patent Search. And this is when I know the patent exists – literally I am putting the issued patent number in, and not finding it on Google Patent Search. Just imagine if I’m doing a general keyword search.

Free Patent Search – Official Patent Search Databases

The only true authority for patents issued by the US government is the United States Patent Office. The US PTO publishes all issued patents going back to the beginning of the US Patent System. All new patents are published here every Tuesday. And all patent applications that are allowed to be published at 18 months, are published here every Tuesday.

But even this free database is not definitive.

You might ask then, what is definitive?

What about the European Patent Office patent search database?

What about the World Intellectual Property Organization patent search database?

While these are also good sources to check – in addition – none of these databases by themselves are definitive.

Well, there really is not definitive source. That’s because a Patent Office Examiner can reject a patent application based on any prior art that the Examiner finds. That includes social media (Facebook, YouTube), journal articles, college thesis, and any number of sources.,

So what is an inventor on a budget to do?

Is there such a thing as a budget patent search?

Trenner Law Firm offers a budget patent search. For just $500 you will get a patent search directed specifically to your invention, along with copies of all relevant references we find, and a full attorney opinion explaining how the references found during the search could be interpreted by the Patent Office Examiner to grant or deny a patent for your invention. Learn more about the Trenner Law Firm Patent Search.


Professional Patent Search Saves Time and Money

In today’s competitive landscape, it is crucial to act fast and protect your invention with a patent. But filing a patent application can be expensive. And if you file a patent application for an invention that already exists – you will quickly learn that that you have wasted your time time and money that could have been better spent taking a different product to market. Fortunately, a patent search can tell you in advance whether you should pursue a patent for your invention.

Let’s look at some ways a professional patent search saves time and money.

Need for a professional patent search . . .

Most inventors believe that their patent does not already exist, simply because they have never seen it. Sometimes, an inventor will ask their close friends or family for confirmation. If no one they ask has seen the product, then the inventor (often incorrectly) assumes that their invention does not already exist.

Have you ever noticed that when you buy a new car – all of a sudden you see that car everywhere you go? No, everyone did not run out and purchase the same car you just bought. What you are experiencing is familiarity. Companies rely on familiarity (or brand recognition) to sell products to you every day. In other words, before you purchased your car, you may not have been familiar with that type of car and so you did not think about that car. Because it was not forefront in your thoughts, you did not “see” that car (even though it was probably all around you). But after purchasing your new car, it is now front and center in your thought (it is familiar). So everywhere you look, now you notice your type of car.

The same thing happens with inventions. When you ask your friends or family if they have seen anything like it – their answer will almost always be “no.” But that’s because they have not been looking for it. So just because your and your friends and family have never seen anything like your invention, that is not confirmation that it does not already exist.

So how do you avoid filing a patent application for an invention that already exists? Do a patent search.

What are your options when it comes to a patent search?

1)  Free Internet Search.

Everything can be found using Google, right? While it is generally a good idea to do a general internet search (Google or other favorite search engine, Amazon.com, etc.), this is far from conclusive. At best, you find that your invention already exists. At worst, you don’t see your invention and mistakenly believe that it does not already exist. Thinking of doing your own patent search? Watch this patent attorney video first to find out if that is a good idea.

2)  Check Free Online Patent Databases.

There are several free online patent databases. Google Patents is perhaps the easiest. But this database is not updated regularly. Other free databases include the US Patent office patent databases (be sure to search both published applications and issued patents). You can also use the European Patent Office  (ESPACENET patent database) to search pending and issued patents in other countries. Unfortunately, these databases are difficult to navigate and it is easy for the inexperienced inventor conducting his or her own patent search to miss important patent documents.

3)  Get a professional patent search through a patent attorney.

A patent attorney typically works with a professional search firm. The search firm conducts the patent search and provides the relevant references to the patent attorney. The patent attorney evaluates the references based on an understanding of both the invention and the patent law. A good patent search also includes an opinion letter that explains why your invention can be patented, or whether your invention is not a good candidate for filing a patent application.

What to expect from a professional patent search.

If this is your first time inventing something, here is a brief overview of what you should expect from a professional patent search:

·      A thorough search of a trusted patent database.

·       Professional analysis by an attorney who understands the patent laws and has worked with Examiners at the US Patent Office to get many patents issued for other clients.

·       A full written opinion discussing the merits of your invention, including all differentiators and what makes your product unique.

·       Copies of all pertinent references found during the search so that you can confirm the attorney’s recommendation.

·       A fair price.

Benefits of a professional patent search . . .

·      The patent search may reveal other products that you were not already aware of.

·       A professional search firm will be able to zero in on features of your invention that might already be described in other patents – even if those patents are for different types of inventions.

·       A patent attorney can determine whether there are any features of your invention that might be patentable.

·      Determine whether you are wasting your efforts trying to patent something that already exists.

·      Find out if  your invention is so close to something that already exists that the Examiner would likely reject your patent application.

The patent process is a big investment of your time and money. Make sure you’re not wasting your time or money trying to patent an invention that already exists.

If you would like to learn more about having a patent attorney conduct a professional patent search for your invention, give us a call at (720) 221-3708, or Email Us. Or start today by visiting our online patent law firm.

Can I do my own patent pending search?

I am often asked by inventors “Can I do my own patent pending search?” The answer is yes, but read this first.

Can I do my own patent pending search?

Inventors can certainly do their own search of the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office database for both pending patent applications and issued patents. The search is free, and can be accessed online at the US PTO website. This site includes several resources for inventors, including a video titled “How to Conduct a Preliminary U.S. Patent Search: A Step by Step Strategy.” The site also links to several other resources, such as the USPTO Patent Full-Text and Image Database (PatFT) for searching issued patents; and the USPTO Patent Applicatoin Full-Text and Image Database (AppFT) for published applications. There is also a link to Search International Patent Offices.

Free and Paid Resources to do a patent pending search

There are other online resources for searching patents, including the Google Patent Search, which can be easier in some ways, than using the US PTO website. Other resources, both free and paid, are also available.

Should an inventor do their own invention search? That depends. How comfortable are you using search databases. Are you familiar with how to use search operators such as Boolean operators (AND – OR) to broaden or narrow your search? Are you familiar with all of the terms that might be used to describe the invention? Are you familiar with legal terms that may be used to describe the invention?

Finding prior art is easy – but can you interpret it?

Even if you are able to answer yes to all of these questions, more important is do you know how to read a patent (or pending application for a patent) that you find during your search to determine whether your invention might be patentable in view of the prior art references? For example, did you know that a prior art reference can be cited against your patent application as disclosing your invention, even though the inventor did not “claim” a particular embodiment? Simply disclosing an embodiment is sufficient to be considered prior art that a Patent Examiner can cite against your patent application and deny the claims (and the patent application from issuing).

That brings me back to my original answer to this question – yes, but. Yes, an inventor can do his or her own patent search, if the inventor is familiar with the search tools available, and how to conduct an effective search. The second part of my answer though, goes to whether the inventor understands how to interpret the search results to make a determination whether the invention is patentable.

That’s where it is best to get the professional opinion of a patent attorney. Patent searches are fairly inexpensive. Trenner Law Firm offers patent searches and full written opinions through the Online Patent Law Firm. In-person meetings to go over the search results are also available if you’re in Colorado.

Colorado Patent Lawyer

Inventors: Do You Know What A Prior Art Search Is?

colorado patent lawyer
Colorado Patent Lawyer

Inventors may want to consider a prior art search to find out what is out there that might be the same or similar to their invention. The prior art search can give inventors a better idea of the state of the art related to their invention.
Inventors are not required to conduct a prior art search before filing a patent application (or at any time, for that matter). But in some cases, the prior art search turns up references that are the same as, or so similar to their invention. If this is the case, and the inventor decides not file a patent application, then they’ve just saved thousands of dollars!
Even if the prior art search indicates that one or more feature of the invention might be patentable, it is still a good idea to have an understanding of other inventions that are out there already. These might be the competition and inventors can see how to make their invention even better.
Oftentimes, seeing what else is out there will prompt inventors to think of additional features or enhancements for the invention, that can help better distinguish the invention over competitors. This can not only be helpful in preparing the patent application, but also for marketing the invention.
Of course, there is no guarantee that the prior art search will uncover all relevant (or even the most relevant) references. This is simply because there is so much information available, that it would be impossible to find and evaluate every reference that is related to the invention.