Prior Art Search

Prior to filing a patent application, it may be a good idea to perform a limited formal search of the already-existing patents, to the extent warranted financially, to see if your invention is already known. Whether such a patentability search should be performed often depends on how the inventor plans to make money.

For example, if an inventor plans to make money by selling the patent to an existing company, then performing a patentability search first is usual and advisable.

The usual charges for a U.S. patentability search include copies of any discovered similar patents and a report with conclusions and recommendations. They typically utilize a sophisticated word search engine in combination with locating and searching the U.S. Patent Office classification system for what appears to be the closest classification that your patent may be classified under.

In some instances, it may be advisable to perform additional searching of the European, World and Japanese Patent offices. Such searching is at an additional charge unless located through the U.S. search as you can see fromĀ article.

Please keep in mind that the classification system of the United States Patent Office, although highly efficient, does not always classify a pertinent disclosure in a category which is searched in any particular search; nor do all search engines perform alike or perfectly. So the possibility always exists that patents may be overlooked due to circumstances beyond control.

It should also be noted that there is no guarantee that a patent search is ever totally complete inasmuch as the United States patent system presently includes approximately six million U.S. patents which are classified and cross-classified within one or more of over 100,000 classification areas.

Over one thousand federal patent examiners may be involved in the classification process, and their opinions vary widely as to proper areas of classification. It is therefore exceedingly difficult to be more than reasonably certain that the most pertinent patent art has been located. Learn more fromĀ

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