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Doing a Patent Search for Prior Art

You've learned the first part of your patent application process is conducting a prior art search. Prior art - not painting or drawings - is any type of available knowledge related or pertaining to your invention.

Examples of prior art would be trade journal articles, previous patents, public discussions, publications, trade shows, public use or sales anywhere in the world. A benefit of a prior art search is it can help prove the novel and nonobvious legal conditions you'll need to prove before your patent is approved.

Conducting a Patent Search

Searching different databases is part of a good patent search, as this should reveal if your ideas have already been patented, which would help give you an idea if you can patent your idea. A thorough patent search will reveal any identical, similar or even partially similar inventions to the one you wish to patent......More>>

Why It's Necessary

It may seem like a lot of unnecessary work to do a patent search, but it really is worth the time for you to do it or the money to hire someone else (recommended if you're a novice) to do it for you. You can save a little money; however, by doing the preliminary search yourself. Give this information to your lawyer or whomever you hired to do your patent search.....More>>

How to do a Patent Search

Although time consuming, it's not as difficult as you might think to do patent searches. For a better understanding, you may want to read Searching Using Key Words and Searching For Students, which will help you begin searching online in minutes. Just doing a thorough search online for patents is not enough. You may find that weeks or research is required if you want to be thorough. You'll also need to familiarize yourself with the patent classification system......More>>

Patent Classification System

Patents are categorized by class of invention and subclass of invention. Their method of organization is very much like the way a library categorizes books. With the patent classification system, you'll be able to find and view patents that are in the same field of technology as your patent, which will save you a lot of time. For an easy-to-follow tutorial on searching for patents, you may want to check out How to Conduct a Patent Search. Options for searching for patents include online databases as well as specialized libraries that have copies of patents that have been issued......More>>

More Info on Prior Art

Searching for patents is an important part of prior art, but it's not the only important factor. Even if another individual has made your invention and never got around to patenting it, this can still cause your patent application to be rejected. While you're searching for patents, you may also want to do a search for non-patent literature such as newspapers, trade paper or magazine articles that have been written about your invention.....More>>