What is a Patent Search?
A patent search is an essential and foremost step in a patentability assessment. A patentability assessment includes:
- A patent search.
- A complete analysis of the references uncovered.
- A printed report on patentability.
A patent search, also known as patentability search, is the process of assessing the patentability of your invention. Any authoritative patent office can reject patent applications you apply to, for example, USPTO, if a granted patent for the same creation already exists. Hence it’s undoubtedly worth verifying the authenticity of your invention before you invest too much money and time into it.
A patent search is a search of the patent database to ascertain if any patent applications are identical to an invention patented. Thus, a patent search improves the chances of obtaining a patent registration or finding information about innovations with patent protection.
Implementing a patent search yourself is not that difficult. Many inventors and entrepreneurs run their patent search to save money. But if you have a reasonable budget, seeking professional assistance or using patent search software is always the best option for a more detailed search result.
The Goal of a Patent Search
The objective of the patent search is to notify the inventor about patentability. Patentability means that an invention is Qualified and has Usefulness, Novelty and Non-Obviousness.
Why Do You Need to Have a Patent Search?
A patent is a legal protection to ensure that your creations are not used by anyone or monetized without your permission. Doing a patent search is one of the best options to protect yourself from patent infringement or patent breach.
Benefits Of A Patent Search
Avoid expensive investment decisions
When you understand the patentability of your invention, you can make other good decisions to avoid unnecessary investments.
Familiarize yourself with prior art
Familiarizing yourself with prior art helps you understand the patentability of your invention and makes it easier for you to outline its unique claims and descriptions.
Improve your patent application or design around
Patent search also helps you strengthen the patent application once you become knowledgeable and familiar with the literature available for the field of the invention.
A patent search can also help you-.
- To determine the probability of having a patent granted to an intended creation
- To decide which claims are to be filed in the patent application
- To find whether a given patent can be canceled
- To know more about related inventions
- To learn about the status of similar patent filings
How to Do a Patent Search Yourself
If you want to do a free patent search on only US patents, the USPTO could be the most appropriate patent database. Consider the following essential steps to do a patent search through the USPTO (US patent search) or other online patent search tools (global patent search)
Brainstorming of Keywords
You can start your patent search by choosing a suitable keyword if the patent search tool you are utilizing grants more superior search features such as semantic search. Such features may help recognize your search intention and provide you with the most reliable search results.
Find the relevant CPC classification using your keyword
USPTO has moved from using the United States Patent Classification (USPC) system to the Cooperative Patent Classification (CPC) system. Cooperative Patent Classification System (CPC) has now been opted by many countries throughout the world.
The Cooperative Patent Classification (CPC) is an extension of IPC and is jointly managed by the European Patent Office and the US Patent and Trademark Office.
After finding out the CPC classification that is most appropriate to your invention, you can discover deeper and explore the patent documents identical to your imagination.
Search through the patent documents in different databases
After conducting a US patent search using the USPTO, you will be required to go through all of the patent documents in two different databases- The Published Patent Database and The Complete Patent Documents Database. This will help you to identify the patent documents that are most related to your invention.
When using other online patent search tools to conduct a global patent search, you will discover that many of them will present you with both the related issued patents and the published patent applications within a single search. In addition, with the latest filters, you can quickly narrow down your search extent for more precise results.
Discover more related patents by using the references of the prior art of the most appropriate patients from your search.
Once you explore the most identical patent applications and issued patents, you can widen your search scope by looking into their forward and backward citations. Looking through the sources and the prior art layer by layer can help you achieve specific results.
Also, some online search tools offer search features that can reduce the work required to go through the references layer by layer. Use these tools and algorithms to become more beginner-friendly and efficient for doing a patent search.
Repetition of the entire process to discover deeper and expand your search scope.
To expand and improve your search scope, look into the non-US patents and non-patent literature in other legal patent offices. In addition, looking into a patent’s family is also an excellent way to gain more insights or related information.
A patent search is less costly than a patentability assessment, but the result is less stable and less informative of the possibility of obtaining a patent. The cost of a search typically varies with the amount of time spent on searching and the searcher’s expertise. An economical and cheap patent search may not get fruitful results for you. For example, suppose a search fails to expose important prior art documents that hinder you from obtaining a patent. In that case, it may cost you a significant amount of time and money to pursue a patent that cannot be accepted.
A patent search is well-suited to those experienced in evaluating and interpreting patent search results themselves and coming to their conclusions on whether it is worthwhile to apply for a patent.