The Importance of Patent Search
You have a fantastic idea and you are looking into patenting it. While doing your research, you learn that you should do a patent search. Patent search? Don’t the lawyers who file patents do that automatically? The answer is no. You either pay experts to do the search for you, or you try doing it yourself. Patent searches are very important because they reassure you, the inventor, that your invention does not already exist.
What exactly is a Patent Search?
A patent search is conducted in the patent databases where you intend to patent your idea, and in other sources that may list inventions similar to yours that already exist. A patent search assesses your chances and options for getting a patent grant. At this point of your entrepreneurial life you should already be an expert at researching. If you are not, then start getting used to it! Developing a product is a long research ride that never ends. A patent search is only one part of the exhaustive research you need to do before patenting.
How complicated is it to do a patent search on my own?
A patent search is cumbersome to do. You have to input every word and combination of words describing similar products or applications that may relate to your product. In other words, your creativity has to match the creativity of a patent agent looking for something similar to your idea. It’s almost like an egg hunt, except you don’t even know what you are looking for. In some cases, a product can be different from yours but share a claim similar to one you’ve made in your patent application. So the answer to this questions is: yes, you can do your own patent search, but how confident are you that you will be able to find the same things a patent agent is looking for? If you are extremely thorough by nature and have lots of time on your hands, our advice is to do the patent search yourself. If not, hand this task over to the professionals.
Do you have to do a Patent search before filing?
Yes! Whether you do it yourself or hire a professional, it’s your responsibility to get a clear idea about the patentability of the invention. It’s your money: don’t waste it. A patent search will also show you the strengths and weaknesses of your invention. Here are some other reasons you should perform a patent search:
Knowledge: It’s essential to learn as much as possible about the field of your invention. There may be some new technology related to your patent already out there.
Market: Learning about the market provides invaluable information that will help you throughout the product development process.
Competition: Competition, sweet competition. What would we do without it? The more we learn about our competition and their new products and technology, the better. Tracking the intellectual property of your competition is extremely important for your business and your invention. You have to make sure you are never infringing on anyone’s intellectual property. And if you are for some reason, you may be able to work your way around the problem with some alterations to your invention.
In many cases inventors and entrepreneurs choose to save money by doing their own patent search. You may be tempted to do the same. We’re not saying you can’t do it right, but if you don’t catch important details prior to filing, you may end up paying the price after.
If you have any doubts about patent searches and intellectual property, or want to know what your next step is, contact us today! The team at Spark innovations is ready to help you!