A patent search is an important and oft-recommended step in obtaining patent protection.  The patent application process is neither quick nor inexpensive, and a patent search can provide valuable insight on the value of filing a patent application.

A patent search is a search for “prior art” that may be relevant to the invention.  The search covers patents, patent publications, publications, industry literature, foreign patents, and other disclosures which can be considered under patent law.  Prior art may be similar in terms of the technological and inventive field or it may be similar in terms of the problem the invention addresses.

Tom conducts patent searches by using an experienced, professional patent searcher who is near the Patent Office and can access the same records that the Patent Examiners use.  Because the Patent Office unfortunately does not make all of its records available online, using this local searcher is the best way to ensure a thorough search.  Once the searcher has sent the raw results to the searcher, Tom reviews and analyzes each of them.  He then prepares a report describing your invention, explaining each of the references, and identifying areas and aspects of potential patentability.  Occasionally, one of the results will be identical to the invention. In such as case, you have a few options: Tom is happy to sit with you to determine how you can change or design your invention differently to create patentability, or you may decide that filing a patent application just isn’t justified.  More frequently, the results inform the patentability of the invention, and with the analysis provided to you in the search report from Tom, you can decide whether the potential areas of patentability represent valuable aspects of your invention and aspects that you believe are worth protecting.  If so, Tom can then begin preparing a patent application which is carefully tailored to those aspects.