If your product or process invention or something similar to it has already been created, it is likely not patentable. Thus, before beginning the patenting process, you must do patentability research. You can conduct basic online patentability research without incurring the expense involved in having a professional search firm conduct such research. Basically, online research involves conducting a word search of publications using one or more of the many available search engines. The words searched will be common terms typically used in describing component parts and/or the operation of the invention. However, if after conducting online research the invention or something similar to the invention is not found, this is still not an indication that the invention is possibly patentable. It is likely there are many different terms that could be used to describe an invention and/or the component parts of an invention. In order to increase the likelihood that an online word search for an invention is thorough, you must be able to think of all of the different terms that could possibly be used to describe the invention and the component parts of the invention. This can be a complex endeavor.
You may not be aware that the U.S. Patent Office provides a patent Search Strategy Guide (Guide) that can be used to search for U.S. patents and published patent applications to augment your online word search. The Guide makes use of the Cooperative Patent Classification (CPC) scheme. The CPC classifies U.S. patents and published patent applications according to their technology; each main class of technology is then further structured into hierarchical subclasses, with each hierarchical subclass having increasing specificity. The Guide provides a seven step procedure to follow when conducting research for an invention using the CPC system. However, as is sometimes the case with instructions prepared by the federal government, the Guide can be confusing and unclear. Ally Law member firm Evans & Dixon offers an article clarifying the Guide with simple language and instructions, making it easier for you to use, at Initial Patentability Research at No Cost.
Performing this type of online research is useful in determining that your invention is likely not patentable. You should keep in mind at the conclusion of your research that failing to identify any information through an online search or through a patent and patent publication search using the Patent Office Search Strategy Guide is still not an indication that your invention is possibly patentable. Seek advice from your Ally Law member firm Intellectual Property department to determine whether to go forward in the patent application process, and make other decisions to protect your intellectual property assets. For more information about Ally Law member firm services and outstanding lawyers, contact us at email@example.com.