How to Do a Patent Search: What is it and Why Should You Do it?

You want your intellectual property to be protected. Evergreen Valley Law Group can answer questions regarding how to do a patent search. Contact us today!

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What Is a Patent Search?

Coming up with new ideas and fresh designs is nothing short of amazing! However, fear and doubt set in that maybe someone already thought of your idea and came up with a solution or invention similar to what you have in mind.

The only way to put your fears to rest is through patent searching, which can help you see if your idea or design is patentable. A patent search is a search for all copyright documents to determine the patentability of your idea or invention.

Patent searching is stressful and tiring because you have to search for all published patent applications, read through them, and see whether yours is different. This means hours of reading through the text, analyzing it, and seeing how similar or different the inventions are to yours.

It is not a glamorous task, but you need to do it unless you want to waste hours and money coming up with an invention that is a rip-off of a patented one. 

The good news is you don’t have to conduct a patent search yourself. Instead, try to get a patent attorney to work on your case, and you can enjoy various benefits we can tell you about shortly.

What Should You Know Before a Patent Search?


A patentability search is vital before filling out a patent application. After all, a patent should protect your design from people who want to monetize it and benefit from your hard work. You can not enjoy the benefits if you don’t follow patent laws. Therefore, before filling out your patent application, you should ensure whatever you want to patent fulfills three elements.

1. Utility

The subject matter should have a useful purpose. So your invention should be functional and operative. It should do what you claim it can, a failure to which it is not patentable.

2. Novelty

Your invention needs to be new. That means something needs to set it apart from all the other existing inventions.

3. Non-obvious

Although inventions have similarities, patentable ones have significant differences.

Why Should You Always Conduct a Patent Search?

Even if your patent application checks off the three crucial elements, it is still helpful to conduct a patent search for three main reasons.

1. Avoid Incurring Heavy Losses

Your innovation could be patentable but with little monetization. Without using professional patent searchers, you can waste a lot of time and money coming up with a design with no tangible returns.

The losses do not end there. Filing for a patent and trademark through the USPTO website or in person at a United States Patent office is not cheap. In addition, if other patents already exist, you can lose that filing fee.

2. Familiarize Yourself With Similar Innovations

Going through relevant patents helps you understand what is already in the market and what is missing. A simple google patent search can help you create a better patent document.

Additionally, you can get a lot of information from patent documents.

3. Design Around or Improve Your Patent Draft

Understanding how to do a patent search is vital because the results can determine how you move forward. Of course, you can abandon your desire for a patent if the innovation is too common, but if not, there are other solutions.

Once you understand the existing patented innovations, it is easier to design around them. You can also learn how to improve your patent draft to ensure a successful patent application.

    Steps of Conducting a Preliminary Patent Search

    The first step is to choose your search method and ensure you have tools to help you. There are various search tools you can use to find free online patents. You can also utilize the google database, which has a lot of patent documents.

    The second step is to find the classification for similar patents. This information can help you know where to begin your search. Using the classification, you identify and search through the issued patents and the published patent applications.

    Concentrate on the patents that are more similar to your innovation. You can also increase your scope by searching for non-US patents and reading through non-patent literature. Although you can broaden your search and use various patent search tools such as google patents, you might still miss some patents. That is why we do not recommend searching on your own.

    Types Of Patent Searches

    There are two popular systems under the patent classification system: the international patent classification and the cooperative patent classification. The first classification is broad, while the latter contains more groups, making the searches more precise. Here are other searches that can make your search less daunting:

    Patent Number Searching

    You can find patent numbers in non-patent literature, such as:

    • Dissertations

    • Magazine

    • Websites

    • Newspapers

    You can also use patent number search to conduct market analysis for the products you want to patent. 

    Classification Searching

    You can search for patents for products with similar features using CPC. This narrows your search because you can use the features to see all the products similar to yours.

    Classification searches cover utility, design, and plant patents the US federal government issued since 1790. It also covers patent applications published by USPTO from April 2001 to date.

    Keyword Search

    You can use keyword search by anticipating the words that an attorney or patent agent used in the full text or various fields. Keyword search is simple and fast. It can also be efficient as long as you anticipate the correct words.

    How Can An Attorney Help You In the Patent Search Procedure?

    An attorney can conduct a professional patent search. They can ensure they cover all the basics of the patent by conducting a worldwide patent search, including non-patent literature.

    Another win when you use an attorney instead of conducting your own patent search is that you can use that time to do other things. Additionally, the patent attorneys can perform a prior art search to help you differentiate it from your art and design or ideas.

    Paying patent attorneys means receiving legal analysis and opinions throughout your case. And that is what makes the money you use a good investment. So, why conduct your own patent search?

    Contact us today and work with qualified patent searchers and patent prosecution attorenys who can guide you from start to finish. 

    Schedule free consultation with a IP attorney today, and let us talk about patents and the patentability of your idea or design!