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.

You can also use Google Patents (patents.google.com) to do your search with some modern technology.  Google purchases the entire USPTO database (and several other countries patent databases) for your searches.

You should also keep track of your search results.  Under current U.S. law, you are required to supply any relevant search results to the USPTO when you file your patent application.

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.

How Can I Help?

If you, or someone you know, have an idea and need to have a search conducted, please contact me for a free 30 minute consultation at or call (213) 785-8070 and ask for Norman.

– Ex astris, scientia –

I am and avid amateur astronomer and intellectual property attorney in Pasadena, California and I am a Rising Star as rated by Super Lawyers Magazine.  As a former Chief Petty Officer in the U.S. Navy, I am a proud member of the Armed Service Committee of the Los Angeles County Bar Association working to aid all active duty and veterans in our communities. Connect with me on Google +