Need to do a Patent Search?

Marine mammal communication device patent You’ve got a great idea. It is, or involves, an invention that you believe is new and unique. Sounds like you’ll need to do a patent search!

Those don’t have to be the only reasons to do a patent search, however. According to the McKinney Engineering Library at the University of Texas, there are other benefits:

  • getting a general idea of how an application and patent is structured to help in the preparation or your own application
  • learning more about a new field
  • for market information
  • competitor tracking
  • technology tracking

Searching for a patent in that humongous sea of complicated patents can be daunting. Fortunately, the William and John Schreyer Business Library of Penn State University offers a patent searching tutorial.

How daunting can this process be?

For example, patent examiners at the United States Patent & Trademark Office (USPTO) spend about twelve hours investigating each patent application to determine whether the invention it describes is patentable. During that time, the examiner consults an average of thirty-eight databases containing patent and non-patent literature to determine whether the invention has ever before been described.

Daunting. It’s worth checking out that tutorial if you’re going to do a patent search yourself. If not, you can hire a patent attorney.

But what if you’re bootstrapping? According to Inc. Magazine’s article “Can You Get a Patent without a Lawyer?“, the answer is YES. “Patent searching is confusing at first, but can be mastered with practice,” writes the author. “It is a research rather than a legal skill.”

Where can you begin your bootstrapped patent search operation? Why, online, of course! Here are some handy online patent search engines:

Good luck with your patent search!

Author: Mike Lee

An idealistic realist, humanistic technologist & constant student.