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