Doing a Patent
Conducting a patent search is a complicated
process but can be done online for patents from 1976 on. The
Patent Office has been making great progress in modernizing
their facilities and procedures to streamline the process as
much as possible.
Patents from 1790 through 1975
are searchable only by Issue Date, Patent Number, and
In an effort to save money on a
patent search, an inventor can take advantage of the
resources provided by the patent office. There are
databases set up to make it much easier than it used to
One sensible approach, prior to hiring a
professional patent searcher is to do some preliminary searches
of your own. This may prevent you from spending money on a
search that is somewhat easy to find. Meaning a few search
terms might just locate a patent and save you the trouble of
going any further.
These steps will not replace that of having a
professional search done. I would go through the process of
searching all the obvious terms, much like doing a Google
Take note of the results you get back, ( I
find having a spreadsheet open is a great way to list
results). Once you develope a list of patents that
have been returned, go through the list by entering each
patent number into the database and reviewing the existing
patent. A good place to start is by checking the prior art.
That's the term for drawings of the invention. If there is a
major difference check a no box on the spreadsheet. If it's
close, read the claims of the patent. These are what the
inventor is claiming is the invention.
If your idea is like the patent claims
check the maybe box, which will let you know to come back to it
for further research.
And if it's the same basic idea, invent
this may seem a bit intimidating, it really isn't too
© Lee A. Jesberger