Purpose of a patent search
A patentability search attempts to estimate the scope of patent protection the Patent Office will grant to you for your invention. The broad concept may be patentable if the prior art does not show your invention’s generic concept. On the other hand, if there are numerous prior art references similar to your invention, then limited patent protection may be possible. The search attempts to uncover the most relevant references.
No duty to conduct a search
Inventors are not required to search the prior art before filing a patent application on their invention.
However, at least TWO benefits may be derived from the patent search step.
- First, the search provides insight as to the scope of patent protection that may be granted to you by the United States Patent and Trademark Office (“USPTO”). The search results may form the basis on which you decide to invest additional time and funds into the project. For example, tooling costs, equipment purchase, legal fees, etc.
- Second, the search results aid your patent attorney in writing your patent application. If prior art similar to your invention is found, the patent attorney can draft the patent application to distinguish your invention from the prior art improving your chances of obtaining patent protection.
Determines whether you will spend additional time and money
The patent searching step is an important step in the entire patenting process. The USPTO will not examine your patent application for at least one year, if not more. During this time, you will spend time and money on your idea. As such, obtaining competent legal advice during this step is important to mitigate unnecessary expenditures of time and money on marketing, manufacturing, etc.
I invite you to contact me with your patent questions at (949) 433-0900 or [email protected]. Please feel free to forward this article to your friends. As an Irvine Patent Attorney, I serve Orange County, Irvine, Los Angeles, San Diego and surrounding cities.