The first step in patenting your innovation is to do a patent search. Determine if your idea fits the standards of the United States Patent and Trademark Office.

The first step in patenting an invention is to learn how to do a patent search. You must determine if your innovation meets the patent standards of the United States Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO). An innovation must meet the following conditions, according to the USPTO:

The innovation must be original.
The innovation must be beneficial or utilitarian.
The innovation must be obscure.

It’s quite easy to show that an innovation is beneficial, but how can you determine whether your invention is novel and non-obvious? You may discover out by doing a comprehensive provisional patent search. Additionally, if you complete your patent study before hiring a patent lawyer, you will most likely save money on legal fees. If someone else has previously come up with “your” innovation, it’s best to find out early on, before you pay money to patent an idea.

While you may do a free patent search, it is not as simple as a keyword search. The USPTO has patents on file dating back to 1790, so you must do a rigorous patent search. One difficulty is the way names change throughout time. For example, no one uses the phrase “water closet” anymore, yet several patents still do. This is why a Google Patent Search may not provide the greatest results. The easiest place to start is to search the USPTO’s databases by categorization.

According to the USPTO patent search tutorial, the following are the major stages to doing a preliminary patent search:

Create a list of keywords that define your innovation.
Use those keywords to search the Index to the United States Patent Classification System for initial class/subclass combinations.
After utilizing the Index, use the Classification Schedule to check the relevance of the class/subclasses. Input your US Patent Classification, choose a Class Schedule, and submit. Repeat for each of the class/subclass combinations you found in step 2.
Before obtaining the documents, use the Classification Definitions to validate the scope of subclasses. Return to the Classification Schedule, input your US Patent Classification, choose Class Definition, and submit. Repeat for each of the class/subclass combinations you found in step 2.
After you’ve identified the most relevant subclasses, use them to search The Published Patent Applications Database and The Full Patent Documents Database for real patent papers on file with the USPTO.
After retrieving the appropriate patent applications and entire patent papers from the databases, assess their relevance.
Examine the other papers mentioned by these documents to find the ones that are most relevant. This will assist you in locating other innovations that are comparable to yours.

While it is wonderful that these free patent search tools are accessible to everyone, a preliminary patent search might be intimidating to those who aren’t patent experts. If you’re still unsure, see a patent attorney.

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