Schedule a Free Patent Consultation with Patent Attorney Greg Carson

The first step to patenting an invention is a prior art search, also known as a patent search. A prior art search (patent search) is research to find all the products and inventions — the prior art — that are similar to the invention that you want to patent. This is to determine if your invention is novel, which is one criterion for patentability. Read more about patentability criteria.

Prior art from around the world needs to be searched. Importantly, there are over 100 patent and patent application authorities to search, with many requiring language translation to read. Scholarly archives and the internet generally must also be searched. It is necessary to search as widely as possible because the better we understand the art and other relevant 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 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 for good patent specification writing. This is because proper searching leads to finding existing similar claims, which guides good claim writing. Further, well written claims improve the protection the patent provides.

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Link to our Invention Intake Questions

Our 3-Part Patent Search Process:

Patent search services (prior art search services) include the following: searching the 100+ authorities for patents and patent applications; searching scholarly literature and archives; and searching the internet generally. We conduct extensive and thorough research to find all the products and inventions that are similar and/or related to the invention you want to patent.

1) 100+ Search Engines are Searched

A focused search is conducted to locate available materials related to the elements of the claims of the invention. Another search is conducted to determine if the invention you want to patent 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 performed to determine if there is a combination of prior art that discloses the invention in question.

2) Prior Art is 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 all of the abstract and claims (don’t over focus on the drawings).

3) Video Consultation Review

Patent Attorney Finding Prior Art
Invention Confidentiality

We include at least one video consultation with you to go over the prior art we found (prior art review) and what it likely means for the patentability of your invention (specifically, whether it is likely that your invention is novel). If you choose to proceed with the next step of pursuing a patent, the prior art is then used to conduct a patentability study (step 2).

  • Inventor Tip: Disclosed means “make known.” In patenting terms, disclosing the invention means describing how to make and use the invention or the combination of 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 for Patents?

A prior art search reveals whether your invention is novel or new. Novelty is one criterion for patentability. In other words, in order for an invention to be patentable, it must be new.

New, of course, means not already existing. Novelty in the context of patenting inventions is specifically 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.

  1. 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

In brief, to be considered novel, an invention must not have been made publicly available or previously disclosed before the filing date of the patent application. Before applying for a patent, a search for prior art must be conducted to ensure the invention is new. Our prior art patent search is conducted by our USPTO registered patent attorney.

Inventor Tip: A patent attorney or patent agent can help you determine whether an invention is novel over the prior art. A determination of whether an invention is overall patentable based on the prior art is made during the patentability study (step 2).

Carson Patents®
Memoji of Greg Carson Patent Attorney

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

  1. Avoid 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 their 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 other potential damages.
  2. Save 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. Enhance 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 for improvement or modifications to make the invention more novel and non-obvious. This can help strengthen the patent application, increase the chances of approval by the patent office, and even enhance the protections provided by the potential patent.
  4. Identify 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. Support 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

A prior art or patent search is a crucial first step in seeking patent protection for your invention. It is a wise investment for increasing the likelihood of a successful and strong patent application.

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

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

Patent Attorney Finding Prior Art