A patent search is often the first step in pursuing a patent, and its importance should not be overlooked. In order to patent an invention, it must be truly novel. The best way evaluate the originality of your idea is to conduct a thorough patent search. In addition to determining if someone else already has a patent for your idea, a patent search also aids the patent process is several other ways. For example:

• The results of a patent search can help you refine your design.

• The results of a patent search can help ensure that your product does not infringe on other products.

• The results of a patent search are integral to completing the patent application process.

• The results of a patent search can provide an early indication of the likelihood of your patent being granted.

Thanks to technology, it is now possible to conduct a basic patent search on the Internet. You can search the texts or claims of patents for free on the U.S. Patent & Trademark Office (USPTO) website. The USPTO’s system allows you to:

• Search U.S. patents dating back to 1976

• Search U.S. patent applications dating back to March 2001,

• Perform bibliographic searches (to find out the name, title of invention, or patent number) of patents dating back to 1790.

Of course, this post provides only a broad overview of patent searches. Before embarking on the patent process, I recommend that you consult with an experienced patent attorney.

If you have any intellectual property questions regarding: patents, trademarks, copyrights, trade secrets, IP litigation, international patent and trademark prosecution, licensing, alternative dispute resolution, and green technology, please contact me for a free consultation

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