How long does it take to do a patent search by a patent attorney? 6 Answers as of July 28, 2011

I have a product I want to get a patent on that requires technical expertise in electrical and maybe mechanical engineering. Because patents are on a "first to file basis" I want to know how long a patent search will usually take for a non-obvious invention?

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DANIEL NESBITT | Hasse & Nesbitt
A patent search can take a couple of days and up to two weeks. By the way, inside t he US, patents are still on the "first to invent" standard.
Answer Applies to: Ohio
Replied: 7/28/2011
Mark S. Hubert PC
Mark S. Hubert PC | Mark Hubert
If you know the invention is non obvious then why do you want a search done? A search will just tell you the chances of your patent being rejected as anticipated or non obvious. All kidding aside a reasonable search can be done in about 4 hours. It does not have to be done by an attorney. There are all sorts of reputable firms that do them. Try Patent Providers. Should run about $300.
Answer Applies to: Oregon
Replied: 7/28/2011
Michael M. Ahmadshahi
Michael M. Ahmadshahi | Michael M. Ahmadshahi, Ph.D., Esq.
The actual search is done online and therefore it should not take more than a few hours. However, depending on the firms workload, they may ask for up to 2 weeks to do the actual search.
Answer Applies to: California
Replied: 7/28/2011
Devon & Associates
Devon & Associates | Marcia A. Devon
The U.S. does not presently have a first to file (the patent application in the U.S. Patent & Trademark Office) system., such that the first person to file in the USPTO is deemed to be the owner of the patent. There have been many discussions of changing the system in the 31 years I have been practicing law. However, each house of Congress has recently passed a different bills changing the U.S. to a first to file system, but it is not the law yet. A reconciliation bill has to be drafted, passed and then the President has to sign the bill before it becomes law. The bills did pass overwhelmingly in the House and the Senate, so I am guessing the law may actually be changed this time, but I do not believe the law would be made retroactive. In the meantime, the U.S. still has a "first to invent" system, so that the inventor's proof of his dates of conception and making a working model is very important. I have a form/document, which you can obtain from my website, entitled "Inventor's Testimonial & Advice to Clients" which will help you document your inventive process should it become necessary to prove you were the first inventor (and the document also provides advice regarding your time deadlines for filing your patent application). If you have difficulty locating the form, just email or telephone my office and we will send you one. Regarding your question about patent searching, it generally requires approximately 2-3 weeks to have a professional search completed by my Washington D.C. search attorney. The time can be reduced if you wish to pay extra for it to be expedited. I also perform searches, depending on the subject matter, using the USPTO data base which I can sometime complete more quickly than my attorney searcher in Washington D.C. I would be careful of some of the cheap searches offered e.g. on line by some one who is not a patent attorney. In addition to knowing how to cross-reference the USPTO classes to find the appropriate prior patents, interpreting the results is critical. I know some companies who provide quick, cheap results (with non attorneys performing the searches), but are a complete waste of money because they do not find the closest prior patents and do not provide an opinion by a patent attorney of whether your design is patentable over the prior patents located. You may simply receive a number of patents which an office worker has located by inputting selected words into the government search engine. The words selected by the office worker may or may not be relevant to your invention and may not be calculated to locate the closest prior patents. In addition to wasting the money you spent on the search, you may proceed with the patent application without knowing there is a prior patent (because the office worker did not find it in the 15 minutes he spent on your search) which will prevent you from obtaining your patent which would cost you thousands of dollars in wasted fees.
Answer Applies to: California
Replied: 7/28/2011
Barton Barton & Plotkin
Barton Barton & Plotkin | Maurice Ross
First of all, patents in the U.S. are not on a "first to file" basis. Until the law in the U.S. changes, the U.S. has a "first to invent" system. Second, there is no way to predict based on the very limited information in your question how long a patent search would take, and how expensive it would be. Further, in addition to a patent search, you probably need to conduct a search of the prior art literature
Answer Applies to: New York
Replied: 7/28/2011
    The Law Offices of Mark Trenner
    The Law Offices of Mark Trenner | Mark Trenner
    It depends on the attorney, the search firm they use, and their current workload. I provide prior art searches in 2 weeks or less, which includes copies of all search results returned by the search firm along with my written analysis and opinion. Please visit my website if you would like more information about the services I offer.
    Answer Applies to: Colorado
    Replied: 7/28/2011
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