Here are 3 steps to check if a product is patented. You should complete all three steps even if you find a patent. The patent owner might have multiple patents that cover one product.
- Search the internet for any patent covering the product
- Look for all patents owned by the owner of the product
- Look for any patent marking on the product
- Find all patents related to any uncovered patent
Step 1: Search the internet for any patent covering the product
The first step is to do a simple google search. If the product owner has a patent on the product, then they may have advertised or posted the patent number on the website. You can find the information on google.
Go to www.google.com and enter the product name along with the term “patent.” Your search query will look like
“[enter name of the product] patent”
For example, to find the patent number for the above photo, enter “SHEDRAIN UMBRELLA PATENT.”
Look through the search results to see if the product has been patented. You may find the patent number as we did on the above search results. From the search, the patent number for the SHEDRAIN umbrella is US Pat. No. 11224269.
Step 2: Look for all patents owned by the owner of the product
The second step is to conduct an assignee search. An assignee search is a search for all patents owned by the patent owner. In order to conduct an assignee search, you need to find the name of the owner of the product.
Here are a few tips for finding the name of the owner that may own the patent for the product.
As you can see from the search results, the owner of the patent is SHEDRAIN CORPORATION.
You can also look for the owner of the trademark associated with the product. Go to the Trademark Electronic Search System. Enter the name of the trademark. Find the mark in the USPTO database. Look up the owner of the trademark.
After you find the name of the owner, go to www.freepatentsonline.com and conduct an assignee search. The search query would look something like this:
“AN/[insert legal name of owner]”
The search results show numerous patents and pre-grant publications.
Step 3: Look for any patent marking on the product
The third step is to purchase the product and look for any patent marking on the product. Many patent owners will mark their products with the patent number associated with the product. Patent marking gives constructive notice to the public of any patent covering the product so that the patent owner can get the maximum damage award in case of patent infringement.
I’ve looked at the product’s packaging and couldn’t find any patent number.
Step 4: Find all patents related to any uncovered patent
After uncovering a patent related to the product, you need to find out if the product is covered by other patents. The patent owner could have filed continuation patent applications to build a patent portfolio around the product.
Go to the Patent Center and enter the patent number of the uncovered patent.
The patent office’s website will take you to the bibliographic data of the patent. On the left side, click on “continuity.” Any other patent application or patent related to the uncovered patent will be listed in this section.
Once you find all of the patents, you need to read through the claims and determine if your product infringes on any of the independent claims of any of the patents. If so, you need to design around the patent(s).