How to Search for Existing Patents when Completing Your Patent Application
The original creation of an inventor may be a remnant of an idea that was used previously by another individual. This is because numerous persons view items in the stores, online, through television and other media.
These images and video process in the mind and are remembered later when the person feels he or she has an original creation. Unfortunately, this is not always the case. When there is any possible creation that may be patented, it is imperative the inventor research if the idea is original or something never before seen through a standard item.
When attempting to apply for a patent, the individual must search through existing patented original works. This research may show that the idea is not original. However, there may be a new way of fashioning the creation into something similar but with a brand new purpose. That means the previous patent still applies, but a new one may be issued for the same product as long as certain factors are different. This process also depends on if the creation had a design patent over a utility patent. It is important to contact an intellectual property lawyer to assist in these matters.
The Need for a Search
While a search is important to show that the idea is original or that a concept is new to an existing product, the research into the object is important so that the inventor is familiar with all processes of a patent and applying for one. While looking through the previously registered patents, he or she may become familiar with the procedure to start the application. He or she may also find that there are different types of patents and while some items may be similar, the process to create them and the unique use is not the same. The search may also explain to the individual that he or she may still proceed as long as the creation has certain elements.
Many persons that seek patent information from the past choose one of two routes to find the information. While the cheapest path is to do the search alone, this often takes more time and may prove fruitless in pursuing the specific idea that has come to mind for the inventor. However, others hire a patent lawyer to seek the details out. This choice may be more expensive, but someone hired is determined to find what is being looked for until results are available. The lawyer may also have additional resources to draw upon as well as tools that the inventor may not be aware even exist. This route is often the best to ensure the idea is not the same, the method of the creation is not similar enough to be useless or the possible invention is unique enough to patent through the correct process.
How to Search Alone
There are many resources available online to assist in navigating the thick waters of patents of the past. Additional research in discovering these tools is useful and may cut down time looking through the details without assistance. There are steps available through the United States Patent and Trademark Office as well as experts available online that may be contacted without expense that may offer words of wisdom or guide the inventor in the right direction. Certain search software may also be downloaded, installed and implemented when in the archives so that keywords and concepts may be revealed faster than scanning up and down pages manually.
When the inventor of the work is searching without the assistance of a paid expert, he or she may consider contacting the patent applicants of similar inventions. While not all may be open to communicating about what they have invented, it is possible to find enough information from open individuals that it may be clear how much different the new invention must be to what was already created in the past. If the invented item had a utility patent, then the entire process of creation from start to finish may be protected. This would mean that a similar invention may be produced, but it must have a different method of production. Design patents protect the creation, but the processes may be the same or similar without the fear that the patent application would be rejected unless both a design and utility patent were appropriated.
While a search with a patent lawyer is helpful, these legal professionals may also assist in the application process and similar matters. It is often important to seek the assistance of a lawyer to protect the rights of the patent after it has been obtained.