How To Patent & Profit From Your Idea
It Begins With a Patent Search!
You have an idea for an invention and are ready to protect it legally. This invention might be your first, or maybe you’re a serial inventor.
Either way, you’ve spent countless hours brainstorming your concept and blueprint. Now you’re ready to make it official and patent this intellectual property that you know can make a difference in the world. But before you fill out a patent application, be sure to assess the market and see if there is a need for your invention.
The end goal is to invent something that you can profit from, and to profit, consumers must be willing to buy it. Also, ensure that your invention checks off the list of what can be patented (and doesn’t fall under what cannot be patented.) This is probably the most important thing.
Here’s a quick summary of what cannot be patented:
Are you still with me? Does your invention pass the test?
If so, you can move forward and conduct a patent search to make sure no one else has your brilliant, market-disrupting idea.By conducting a thorough patent search, you’ll be able to verify the originality of your invention.
This step is imperative in determining whether your idea is new (and thus, you can patent it) or not.Keep in mind that if your invention is patented, you’ll have a monopoly over its use for 20 years from the date of your patent application.
On the other hand, you could be waiting 20 years for someone else’s patent to expire so you can pursue your invention. Nobody has time for that. Time is of the essence, so it’s essential not to delay conducting a patent search.
As a registered and board-certified patent attorney, who conducts hundreds of patent searches yearly, I’ve seen many inventors triumph when they learn their ideas can be patented. I’ve also met inventors who invested so much time and resources into their concept.
Unfortunately, they failed to conduct a thorough patent search and had to scrap their idea.
That doesn’t have to be your story.
Even though a patent search is not required to obtain a patent, I strongly suggest you conduct one.
In this blog, I’ll be offering my inside knowledge and professional advice, that I’ve gained over 20 years as a board-certified patent attorney, on patent searches.
Keep reading if you want to know:
What’s a Patent Search?
According to the United States Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO), “a patent is a limited duration property right relating to an invention, granted by the United States Patent and Trademark Office in exchange for public disclosure of the invention.”
In layman’s term, a patent gives you the legal and exclusive right to your invention. That means no one else can make it, use, sell it, or copy it. Before you can protect your new and useful invention, you have to ensure that you can own it, and that’s where a patent search comes in.
At its core, a patent search consists of looking through hundreds of issued patents and published patent applications, commonly referred to as “prior art.” Prior art is evidence that your invention is already known – which in case you may not qualify for a patent.
Before starting your search, ensure that your invention meets the requirements for securing a patent. According to USPTO, your invention must be:
- Novel – different from all other patents
- Non-obvious – not apparent to someone in the same industry. So, if your invention is close to a current invention, the change must be unexpected and not something that an industry expert would consider an obvious change.
- Adequately described or enabled – you must be able to write about your invention descriptively, how to make it, and use it. It should be described in such a way that it enables any person skilled in the art to make the invention also.
- Claimed by the inventor in clear and definite terms – your invention should be clearly and definitively understood by the public in a way that they will know what constitutes an infringement of the patent and understand the full scope of the invention. Leave no room for ambiguity.
The Importance of a Patent Search
You may think your invention is original, but you can’t be 100% sure without a patent search. No matter how different your invention may seem, if there is something even remotely close to it, you may not qualify for a patent.
Conducting a patent search can save you time and from investing unnecessary money into your invention by learning if it already exists or not. After a thorough patent search, you’ll be able to determine if your patent will infringe on the rights of other patents or can invalidate a competing patent.
A patent search can also assist with improving your idea by helping you understand what else is out there. When you research other available patents, you’re able to gauge the uniqueness and usefulness of your invention and adjust accordingly, if need be. 5
The main importance of a patent search is to have the peace of knowing. After consulting me to conduct a patent search, my clients have a sense of peace from understanding if something like their market-changing invention exists, and how similar or different their design is.
Knowing the positive results on a patent search means you’re one step closer to patenting your idea and profiting!
Different Types of Patent Searches
Before conducting a patent search, it’s important to know the different types of searches available. For the sake of this blog, I’m going to focus on the four most common patent searches: patentability search, invalidity search, clearance search, and state of the art search.
A patentability search or novelty search happens prior to filing a patent application. This search verifies if the invention is new and if you qualify for a patent. The patentability search is one of the most common searches I conduct for inventors like you. I highly suggest not spending money filing a patent application without doing this search.
Invalidity Search 6
An invalidity search happens after a patent has been issued. This search aims to locate documents that challenge the validity of a patent because of research missed during the original patentability search. It’s usually conducted by another party trying to invalidate the patent.
A patent clearance search can determine if an invention infringes on another patent. Think of it as getting “clearance” that your invention is good to go. It is also known as a freedom-to-operate (FTO) search.
State of the Art Search
To learn more about other patents in the same field as your invention, a state of art patent search is best. Once conducted, you’re exposed to all relevant and prior art that relates to your invention. This search can help you understand recent research to help you adjust accordingly.
It’s imperative to note that one search does not compensate for another search. For example, when you conduct a patentability search, you are finding out if your invention is patentable, or if you qualify for a patent. The search will not cover an invalidity search, or tell you if you’re infringing on another patent. When searching choose the one best for your needs.
Can I Conduct a Patent Search Myself?
You may be wondering, “Do I really need an attorney to help me with a patent search?” The simple answer is no. You don’t need an attorney. In fact, many resources are available so that you do not need to turn to a lawyer for assistance.
To start your patent search, you can go online to popular patent sites (such as USPTO, World Intellectual Property Organization (WIPO) or Google Patents), and look through their database. After all, it’s free; you don’t have to go through an attorney, and Google knows all, right?
If you’re a serial inventor or have in-depth knowledge of your invention’s field, you can probably navigate patent sites with ease.
But if you’re more of a novice and still insist on conducting a patent search online, make sure you know what you’re doing and what to look for. You might think you’re ahead of 7
the game by using online free tools, but you could be hurting yourself in the long run if you miss crucial information during your search.
The patent search is typically regarded as the hardest part of the patent process.
Because you have to comb through hundreds (maybe even thousands) of published information.
Many of the free online resources will allow you to perform a search and patent analysis on inventions from hundreds of years ago; Google Patents goes as far back into the late 1700s.
I advise you to learn as much as you can about your invention and the terminologies associated with it. It would be best if you also prepared to dedicate a substantial amount of your time to conducting research. A quick Google search will not suffice.
I can’t tell you how many times inventors missed crucial information about their patent by not knowing how to conduct a thorough check. The outcome of this can be devastating.
If you proceed to get a patent and it later turns out that your invention does not qualify (due to prior art), you can lose your patent and the thousands you’ve invested this far. Or you might spend even more time and money trying to fight the results and protect your patent.
Risks of Conducting Your Own Patent Keyword Search
While they are a variety of online resources you can use to conduct an online patent keyword search, it doesn’t necessarily mean you should do it yourself. One thing for sure is that online patent searches won’t ever compare to hiring a skilled patent attorney. Plus, there are some risks associated with using the web to assist in your patent keyword searches.
Giving Away Your Idea
You risk giving away your idea when searching for it online. By typing your keywords or ideas into different search engines, you’re releasing it into the public. There are marketing companies and other inventors who scour the internet, easily and freely, and they monitor keywords. You wouldn’t want to trigger someone else to steal your idea.
Wasting Time (and Money)
The last thing you want to do when it comes to patenting your idea is to waste time, right? When conducting your own search, you risk missing overlooking close references or not having all the keywords associated with your invention, which can be a huge time-waster when you have to go back and search again.
The risk increases even more if you proceed on with a patent application and get denied. Now that’s both money and time wasted from you doing your own keyword search – not worth the risk.
How Long Does a Patent Search Take?
If you ask any inventor, “how long does a proper patent search take?” They’ll probably moan, grumble and answer “a long time.” It’s true. A patent search not only requires time but skills, energy, and patience.
Several factors determine when a patent search is complete, including the type of patent search and the invention itself. In the two decades which I’ve been a board-certified patent attorney, I have seen searches done in a few days, weeks, and some may take longer. But at the Patent Professor’s law firm, our patent searches take about five to seven business days to complete. 9
I Found Nothing from My Patent Search, Now What?
If you find nothing after conducting your patent research, you can accept it as accurate and move forward to a patent application. Or, you can get a second and more professional review from a patent attorney.
Remember that just because you specifically couldn’t find anything close to your invention online, doesn’t mean that there’s not something similar out there. The best way to know for sure, without a shadow of a doubt, is to hire an attorney. Don’t assume your findings as final and rush into spending your money on a patent application.
It’s also worth mentioning that a patent application can cost more than a patent attorney. If you make a mistake during the patent search and proceed to submit an application that gets rejected, you will have to start over and spend more money by getting a lawyer and resubmitting an application.
It’s better to be on the safe side and err with caution. Ensure that your invention is patentable by consulting a skilled patent attorney — emphasis on skilled. If you choose to go with a lawyer, look into their qualifications. Not any kind of lawyer will do.
A common misconception is that a general practice attorney at $150/hour is a lower cost and better alternative, but unlike general attorneys and other specialists – I created the Patent Professor to be a flat-fee intellectual property law firm.
We don’t bill by the hour.
We don’t charge for phone calls or meetings.
Plus, as a specialist with decades of experience, my patent searches are done both effectively and efficiently. In contrast, a general practitioner may take much longer, which can cost you 10
more money. I think you can agree that hiring the Patent Professor is a better and more cost-effective route.
How the Patent Professor Can Help You
I understand, you’re still skeptical about spending money, especially when you can perform a patent search without spending a dime. So again, you ask, “Do I really need you, professor?”
Let me preface by saying, I am not here to deter you from conducting a patent search for yourself. My goal is to provide you with what I’ve known and practiced for twenty years. It is also to give you honest advice so that you can make an informed decision and decide if you want to do a patent search yourself or enlist the help of a professional.
What I also know is that I’ve gotten my clients real results. I’ve protected their inventions, and I helped them scale into high profits.
In the beginning of the blog, I’ve briefly told you about myself, but it’s time to introduce you to one of my most successful clients – Alexander Gomez.
Several years ago, Alexander Gomez walked into my office, and passionately told me about his medical idea. He believed in it so much that he dropped out of medical school to pursue his invention. With some of his last dollars, Alex chose to invest in his invention and hire me, the Patent Professor, to help him protect his intellectual 11
property. Fast forward to now, Alex has earned a $100 million payout from his medical idea. You can read more about our encounter and how I helped Alexander profit from his idea.
You see, in my career as a board-certified patent attorney, day in and day out, I help thousands of inventors profit from their invention. Inventors like you have trusted me with their idea, and I’ve protected their rights through strong, well-drafted, litigation patents.
Here are what some of my most successful clients have to say about working with me:
When it comes to patent law, it’s not just another practice area for me or my firm. This is a lifestyle. It’s my passion. To every client, I bring my years of specialized training in intellectual property law.
I proudly wear the hat of a board-certified and specialist in intellectual property law because only a small, distinct handful of patent attorneys in the entire country are board-certified as specialists. 12
I’m also responsible for training up the next generation of patent attorneys. For the past 18 years, I’ve been an adjunct professor at Nova Southeastern University Law School. It’s through my teaching patent law to law students, other attorneys, and business people that make me a better patent lawyer myself.
If you believe in your invention 100%, you need to give it 110%. You do that by investing in the right resources and people to help you patent your idea. I’m here to help. If you’re looking to know for sure if your invention is patentable, start a patent search with the Patent Professor. Schedule a free consultation and get your questions answered today.
You should now be equipped with so much information that you better understand patent searches, the importance of a patent search, the risks of conducting a patent keyword search online, and my passion for helping inventors like you reach success on their patent journey.
Have any questions? Feel free to contact me at 1-866-433-2288.
I wish you the best of luck on your invention journey. It is sure to be one of the most thrilling, frightening, and empowering times of your life. As always, happy inventing!
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