Filing for a U.S. patent requires several steps, each of them can be costly. Learn how to save money on the patent search from a multiple patent-holder.
Trying to invent a new device, product or methodology can be very difficult, to say the least, but circumventing the patent filing procedure waters can be even more burdensome. There are several things required upfront to get ready for the inevitable patent lawyer interface. The first of these steps is the patent search procedure and completed properly by you, this can save the attorney’s time and your hard-earned money. I pitched in and it saved my company a good amount of cash on the several patents granted to me.
The First Patent Search Step
The first thing required in a normal patent filing is the patent search. A thorough search is required to prove that no prior art or patent was granted on any new invention that might infringe. Many years ago, this was “attorney required” meaning that the U.S. Patent Libraries needed a keycard from a patent search attorney or his designated employee. The patent attorney offices were often located near the libraries to afford easy access. The card was needed in order to gain access to the patent library, where the micro fish machines were used to locate possible earlier patented components of the new hopeful.
How to Proceed Searching the Patent
Nowadays, with the computer and internet interface, this can be done by the inventor, if desired. Go online and located those libraries in the country that are designated as U.S. Patent Libraries. This can also be done through various state-based universities like the Rice University in Houston, Texas. Learn to research all-around your proposed invention. For instance, if you have invented a new exercise bike, start out with anything with the wheel. Your search will be more lengthy because we all know the wheel was the first real invention. At this point, be sure you have protected your invention prior to initiating the complete patent search.
Deconstruct the Patent Features
If you are patenting a device or mechanism, take it apart and look closely at the elements that are crucial to the functional properties of the device itself. Pay close attention to any unique features that you view as the basis for any new issuable patent. Separate them and carefully search the files by entering the name of the feature and possibly describing how it works. When you have searched any and all elements you feel are critical to the new patent request, be sure to request copies of your searched documents, or download them, if allowable. You will need these for the following step, on your way to your attorney, which is the working drawings.
Face the Facts
The most important thing is to do a thorough search. If, during your investigation, you find possible infringement or prior elements of your device or mechanism which have already been patented issued, be truthful. It may not be as bad as it looks, but be honest and be sure to get copies of these questionable issues. It is not for you to determine this at site value, but for your legal counsel to make that determination prior to the initial writing of the patent. It may not be as bad as it looks, but just be sure to get the drawings and addendums attached. Actually, those areas of a question may be used to your advantage, and in some cases used to point out the important but subtle differences in working features between your new device and the old style one.
Compile the File
Remember that prior art and patents that have been issued many years previous are still patents, even if the patent validation time has expired on them. No new U.S. patents can be issued covering the same critical working feature, element, or patent applied for the modality of a previously issued patent no matter how old it is. Again, your attorney will advise whether it is of significance or not. Be sure to compile a file of your search, including working drawings, text and any revised patents that may be indicated in the original patent. Updating patents is quite common, so be sure to include any improvements in a questionable area. Read on to complete the working drawing features of your new baby.