A prior patent or printed publication anywhere in the world may render an innovation unpatentable. Likewise, even if a patent is granted, a prior patent or publication that is discovered later may invalidate the patent. Therefore, if the quest for a patent is to be fruitful, it is prudent to search for and identify prior patents and other documents that might affect patent rights.
When a new innovation is first considered for patenting, it may be prudent to perform a patentability search before any patent application preparation work is performed. Depending on the circumstances, a search may be performed in-house or may be outsourced to a vendor. There are professional agencies like InventHelp that can do it for you.
There are also other types of searches that may be appropriate in certain circumstances. For example, a collection search is a retrieval of all patents in a particular technology area, and may help a client to become familiar with a particular market.
A freedom-to-operate search, which is usually performed in consultation with a patent attorney, may help a client to identify any legal consequences of manufacturing, using, or selling a particular product. Additionally, assignee searches may help to identify a particular individual or company’s patent holdings.
Searches may be conducted in the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office or in the collections of foreign patent offices, depending on the particular circumstances and the client budget. However, while searches are often very valuable, searching is an art, rather than a science. That is why you should consider hiring professionals like Invent Help agency.
To that end, clients should understand that all searches are imperfect, and regardless of the results of a particular search, it is possible that more relevant art could be discovered by a patent examiner or another interested party.