Running a patent search is critical for any inventor with serious ambitions of success. After all, there’s no point investing years of your life or thousands of dollars into something that’s already been done by somebody else, and a patent search is the best way to make sure that doesn’t happen. This was not always easy, however.
It used to be that the only way to run a patent search was to pay a patent attorney to do it for you. Prior to the Internet, these attorneys basically had a monopoly on patent searches because they were the only ones with access to US Patent and Trademark Office files. The Internet has changed this dramatically. For one, you can visit the USPTO’s website and run a patent search yourself, for free. If you want to search issued patents (patents that people already have), click “Quick Search” or “Advanced Search” under the “Issued Patents” section.
The only problem with the USPTO’s website is that it is not exactly the most user-friendly resource out there. Luckily, there’s a much easier-to-use alternative: Google Patent Search. Like the USPTO, Google Patent Search lets you browse through all patents on file for free. Unlike the USPTO, however, Google makes this process as easy and painless as the Google search engine itself. For those of you who have never run a patent search from the USPTO site, this is a serious improvement! However, free search can not be compared with a professional. If you don’t want to waste your time on the research, you should hire a professional patent agency, like Invent Help.
Here’s how it works. First, visit the URL above. Then, just like you would search for something on Google.com, type in what best describes the patent you’re looking for. For example, let’s say you thought you were the first person to invent the electric guitar, and you wanted to run a search to see if someone invented it already. You would type “electric guitar” into the search box as shown below. Then click “Search Patents.”
Following is a page of search results showing patents that match what you searched for. (Unfortunately for you, the electric guitar has been invented and re-invented many times over!) At this point, you can click on any patent that looks interesting or relevant. We’ll click the first one on the page.
This brings us to a much more detailed page about the electric guitar. You can read about the patent’s claims, learn when it was filed and issued, the inventor who has it, who the patent examiner was, the patent number, and more. You can also click “Read This Patent” to see the actual, scanned-in patent that is on file with the USPTO. Scrolling down will also enable to you to see other patents that have referenced this one – in this case, many other patents have.
This process is repeatable for virtually any patent search you might want to run. With some practice and effort, you can usually do all of your patent searching by yourself, for free, but if this seems like too much of a hassle you can always seek professional help, such as InventHelp agency.