A patent search is an important step to take before filing a patent application.  An inventor should do their due diligence before filing a patent application, just like you would do your due diligence before taking on a new business venture. Although a patent search costs money, it can save you even more money down the road.  Here are a few reasons you, as an inventor, should consider getting a patent search.

1. Become more confident in the patentability of your invention

Every inventor wants to know if their invention is patentable.  For it to be patented, it must be novel, non-obvious, and useful.  Before you jump all the way to filing a patent, you probably want to know what the probability of you getting a patent is. If the chances are low, you probably wouldn’t want to spend your time and money pursuing one.  A patent search will show you inventions which are like yours, and the associated patent search report will give you a level of confidence as to whether your invention can be patented.  It’s not just a matter of whether your invention already exists, but it might be comparable to other ones, or have elements in common with two or three different existing inventions. A patent search, along with professional opinions regarding patentability, is a valuable way to analyze all these things.

2. Save time and money

A patent search costs significantly less than preparing and filing a patent application, and prosecuting the same before the US Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO) and, if desired, before foreign patent offices.  Prosecution at the USPTO can run as long as 2-4 years (sometimes even longer), so finding out early in the process that there may be one or more similar inventions already out there can be invaluable information to have in making the determination whether to go forward with a patent application or not.

3. Improve your chances of successfully getting a patent by working around existing inventions

Even if you believe that your invention does not already exist, it is important to see similar inventions and identify who your competition is.  The information gleaned from a patent agent/attorney’s analysis of the patent search results can also provide input to the inventor regarding potential redesigns or modifications. If a reference/patent is identified during the patent search that describes a similar or identical invention, you can edit or redesign your invention in a manner that is non-obvious over the reference.  What this means is that while your original invention may not have been patentable, your redesigned one will have a better chance at being patentable.

4. Come up with additional inventive features

If the patent search results indicate there are many prior references that are the same as your inventive idea, it gives you an opportunity to consider additional inventive features of your invention.  For example, a previous patent found might have the same overall concept, but an element of yours that the previous patent lacks might result in 20% better performance in your invention. Because these additional inventive features were identified before filing, they can safely be added to the application (subject matter added to your application after filing can be subject to rejection by the patent examiner).

It is evident from the above four reasons that it is important to conduct a patent search, and especially by a patent agent/attorney who can then further analyze the search results and give feedback to the inventor, which can help make the decision of whether to file for a patent or not, and if so, how to best go about describing the invention.  Contact Allconus today to get a quote for searching your invention.