What is the best way to find out if my patent already exists? 11 Answers as of April 30, 2014

How do I find out if my patent already exists. It's complicated and I'm not sure how to begin my search.

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Eminent IP, P.C.
Eminent IP, P.C. | Paul C. Oestreich
From the statement of your question, it appears you are asking whether or not your invention has already been patented (or is in the public domain) by someone else. The typical approach is to perform a novelty or patentability search of the prior art based on a complete description of your invention. Such searches are performed using keyword searching of databases of patents, published patent applications, international applications and patents, technical articles and even Internet searches. Note that a typical novelty search will provide a representative landscape of the relevant prior art, but, it will never be 100% inclusive of all relevant prior art. For example, if your competitor filed a patent application on your exact invention anytime in the last 18 months, that patent application will not be a public record until after 18 month from filing. Patent applications in the US and elsewhere are typically published 18 months after filing and at that time become publicly searchable. Furthermore, that patent application may never publish if a non-publication request is filed, in which case, you become aware of the patent only after it issues. As always, you should consult a patent attorney to discuss your particular facts and to explore various options on performing a novelty/patentability search for your invention.
Answer Applies to: Utah
Replied: 4/30/2014
Michael M. Ahmadshahi
Michael M. Ahmadshahi | Michael M. Ahmadshahi, Ph.D., Esq.
You must do a patent search.
Answer Applies to: California
Replied: 9/12/2013
Sebby Law Office
Sebby Law Office | Jayne Sebby
If you have a fair amount of money, you can hire a law firm or professional searcher to review the patents registered in the U.S. or whatever county you think might be a market for your product. You can also search the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office's web site yourself. The USPTO lists almost all of the patents it has issued and has instructions on how to use the service.
Answer Applies to: Nebraska
Replied: 9/12/2013
DANIEL NESBITT | Hasse & Nesbitt
It is best to contact and engage a patent attorney or patent search service, and to pay for a prior art search. Be prepared to pay several hundred dollars, minimum. As you said, it's complicated.
Answer Applies to: Ohio
Replied: 9/12/2013
Microtechnology Law & Analysis | Daniel Flamm
You can search using the US Patent Office site, ArchPatent, European Patent Office, WIPO, Google, FreePatentsOnline, PatentLens and others. But if you have little search experience and potentially much at risk, the smartest thing to do is engage a seasoned patent attorney to help you. Please also be aware that having a professional search performed, is no guarantee that something has not been overlooked. Recognize also, that even if there if is no other valid patent covering the same things your patent claims, this does not assure your claims are valid (because there might be expired patents, non-patent prior prior art, or other things that anticipate or make your claims obvious). So quality searching requires an in-depth knowledge of the subject area, knowing the legal standards of obviousness, and how the patent office and courts apply these standards using prior art. For these reasons, should you hire professional help, it is best to find a patent attorney who has work experience and a deep understanding of technology in the field of your patent.
Answer Applies to: California
Replied: 9/12/2013
    Gerald R. Black, Esq.
    Gerald R. Black, Esq. | Gerald R. Black
    Patent searching is a form of research. The research requires considerable time and thought and must be precise. Patent searching is a screening of the prior art. To be patentable, an invention must be new and not obvious. If the invention can be found in a single prior-art document, it's not new. If the invention is new except for a minor variation of the prior art, obviousness is a problem. Prior art is the key to patentability. The prior art comprises all issued Patents, Pending Applications, technical papers, and technology that never reached the Patent Office. If someone is selling a similar product in Europe, and a Patent Application was never filed anywhere, the European product is still prior art. Searching takes considerable time, even when done by experienced professionals. Since it is strongly recommended that you engage Patent Counsel to write a Patent Application, you should engage the services of Counsel to confirm your search findings. A good Patent Search should not cost more than $600 even for a complex search, and is money well spent.
    Answer Applies to: Michigan
    Replied: 9/12/2013
    Mark S. Hubert PC
    Mark S. Hubert PC | Mark Hubert
    Go to google patents or freepatentsonline Just start doing key word searches and when you find a patent similar then look at the field of art - then narrow the searchs thereafter with that field.
    Answer Applies to: Oregon
    Replied: 9/12/2013
    Banner & Witcoff, Ltd. | Ernie Linek
    Keyword searching of patents is available on both GOOGLE (at www.google.com/patents) and at the US Patent Office website - www.uspto.gov. You know what your invention does and how it works - use general terms based on those concepts to see what patents exist. You can then focus your search once you see how others have described similar inventions. It is fun to do and it is free - so take some time and check it out. NOTE - the fact that you do not find something does not always mean that your invention is not already patented - as the other inventor may have used different terminology. Ultimately - you may need to hire a professional to do a search.
    Answer Applies to: Massachusetts
    Replied: 9/12/2013
    Law Office of Kirk Buhler
    Law Office of Kirk Buhler | Kirk A Buhler
    The best way to determine if your invention has been patented is to perform a patent search at www.uspto.gov. You can perform an initial search yourself, but searching is both an art and a science. A professional searcher should provide more accurate results. You begin your search using generic words that describe the parts or function, and then depending upon the result, narrow or expand the words to locate the best references. You should search both the issued patents and the published patent applications. You should also perform an Internet search to see if the product is available in the open market.
    Answer Applies to: California
    Replied: 9/12/2013
    Tran & Associates | Bao Tran
    PowerPatent has a patent software called ProvisionalBuilder(R) that automatically searches for similar ideas. As you enter the title and summary, the software runs an automatic search to suggest similar patents you should look at to see how similar patents are written. You should get patent application as soon as you can to prevent others from copying you. This is important as we move into the First to File era. Software costs $99 so it i very inexpensive yet guides you to prepare a high quality patent application that one year later you can turn to a lawyer to convert into a utility application for you. A feature summary is at http://www.powerpatent.com/prwelcome THe software helps you organize information, and through your summary description, brings back sample patents in the same field for you to use as examples.
    Answer Applies to: California
    Replied: 9/12/2013
    Webb IP Law Group
    Webb IP Law Group | Jason P Webb
    Google and the USPTO have search tools you can use www.google.com/patentsand http://www.uspto.gov/patents/process/search/ You can start there. Once you have finished any of your own searching, you should have an attorney search for you doing a more formal search.
    Answer Applies to: Utah
    Replied: 9/12/2013
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