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The first step to patenting an invention is a prior art or patent search. A prior art search (patent search) is research to find all the products and inventions similar to an invention that you want to patent. Prior art from around the world needs to be searched. Importantly, there are over 100 patent and patent application authorities to search, many needing language translation to read. Additionally, scholarly archives and the internet generally must be searched. It is necessary to search as widely as possible, because the better we understand the art and other similar inventions, the better we can represent your invention.

Our USPTO registered patent attorney can conduct a prior art patent search for your invention and explain whether or not it is patentable. Schedule a free patent consultation to get started. We also recommend you do some searching yourself. Read about how to search for prior art.

Inventor Tip: Proper searching is essential to good patent specification writing. Specifically, searching guides good claim writing by finding existing similar claims. Further, well written claims improve the protection the patent provides.

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31 Second Video Explaining Patent Step 1 the Prior Art Search

Prior Art Patent Search Details

Prior art search services (patent search services) include: searching the 100+ authorities having patents and patent applications; searching scholarly literature and archives; and searching the internet generally. We search to find all the products and inventions similar and/or related to the invention you want to patent.

100+ Search Engines are Searched

A focused search is conducted to research and locate available materials related to the elements of the claims of the invention. A search is done to determine if the invention is disclosed in the existing patents, patent applications, and non patent literature from around the world. Further, a search in other related arts/areas is done to determine if there is a combination of prior art that discloses the invention.

Prior Art Provided to Inventor

Copies of all relevant prior art documents are provided to the inventor for review. Translations are provided for prior art from foreign countries. We ask that you read as much of the prior art as you can, but at the very least read the abstract and claims (don’t over focus on the drawings).

Video Consultation Review

We include at least one video consultations (prior art reviews) with you to go over the prior art we find and what it likely means for the patentability of your invention. The prior art is then used in the patentability study (step 2).

Patent Attorney Finding Prior Art
Invention Confidentiality
  • Inventor Tip: Disclosed means “make known.” In patenting terms, disclosing the invention is describing how to make and use the invention or the combination its elements.
  • Entrepreneur Tip: Our usual invention patent eligibility study can optionally include a completed Information Disclosure Statement (IDS) instead of a written patentability report. An IDS is a required submission for your patent application. Ask about the IDS if your invention is patentable.

What Does Novelty Mean?

Novelty means new. In order for an invention to be patentable it must be new. New, of course, means not already existing. Before applying for a patent a search for prior art must be conducted to ensure the invention is new. Our prior art searching is conducted by our USPTO registered patent attorney. Novelty for an invention is defined in patent law under Title 35 United States Code (U.S.C.) § 102. quoted below.

35  U.S.C. 102  Conditions for patentability; novelty.

(a) NOVELTY; PRIOR ART. – A person shall be entitled to a patent unless – (1) the claimed invention was patented, described in a printed publication, or in public use, on sale, or otherwise available to the public before the effective filing date of the claimed invention, or (2) the claimed invention was described in a patent issued or in an application for patent published or deemed published, in which the patent or application, as the case may be, names another inventor and was effectively filed before the effective filing date of the claimed invention.

USPTO Manual of Patent Examining Procedure

What Does Non-Obvious Mean?

Non-obvious means not obvious. In order for an invention to be patentable, it must not be obvious. An invention is obvious if a “person having ordinary skill in the art” of making such items could use the prior art to combine existing things and make your device. Prior art can be anything in print or available on the internet in any country or language. Read more about what prior art is. A person having ordinary skill in the art of your invention is the usual person that you would go to for things in that art. Read more about what art means for an invention.

If a person having skill in the art of the art of your invention could use what is available in the prior art to make your invention, the invention is likely obvious. An invention is obvious if there are any number of prior art references that, when combined, would result in essentially your invention. In other words, an invention is non-obvious when it is not disclosed in or obvious from what is disclosed in the prior art.

Inventor Tip: A patent attorney or patent agent can help with determining whether an invention is obvious over the prior art. A determination whether or not an invention is patentable given what is in the prior art is made during a patentability study (step 2).

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5 Benefits of Conducting a Prior Art Search Before Applying for a Patent

  1. Avoiding Infringement: One of the primary reasons to conduct a prior art search is to avoid infringing on existing patents. A prior art search can help identify any existing patents or published materials that may be relevant to the invention. This can help inventors understand the scope of the invention and determine if it is unique enough to warrant a patent. By conducting a prior art search, inventors can avoid the risk of infringing on existing patents, which can lead to costly legal battles and potential damages.
  2. Saving Time and Money: Filing a patent application can be a time-consuming and expensive process. By conducting a prior art search, inventors can save time and money by avoiding the filing of a patent application for an invention that may not be novel or non-obvious. If an invention is similar to existing patents or publications, the patent application may be denied or require significant modifications, which can result in additional expenses and delays.
  3. Enhancing Patentability: A prior art search can also help enhance the patentability of an invention. By reviewing existing patents and publications, inventors can identify potential areas of improvement or modifications to make the invention more novel and non-obvious. This can help strengthen the patent application and increase the chances of approval by the patent office.
  4. Identifying Market Opportunities: Conducting a prior art search can also help inventors identify potential market opportunities. By reviewing existing patents and publications, inventors can determine if there is a gap in the market that their invention can fill. This can help inventors determine the potential market size and demand for their invention and develop a more effective commercialization strategy.
  5. Supporting Patent Litigation: If a patent is granted, it may be subject to infringement by others. Conducting a prior art search can help inventors establish the novelty and non-obviousness of their invention, which can be useful in supporting any future patent litigation. If an inventor can demonstrate that their invention is truly unique and non-obvious, it can be easier to enforce the patent and prevent others from infringing on it.

Patent Search Help Available Online

We offer prior art search services starting at $1600 for a complete prior art search and patentability evaluation for your invention by our USPTO registered patent attorney. Click below to book a free patent consultation.

Inventor Tip: When looking for help with a patent application only a patent attorney or patent agent can prosecute patents for you. Be sure to check whether your patent practitioner is licensed by the USPTO.

Patent Attorney Finding Prior Art