Is Performing My Own Patent Search a Good Idea?
Recently I saw a local inventor group suggesting that they could teach you about performing your own patent search. And that somehow this skill would be sufficient enough to base the entire future of your invention on. And that it would make a professional search no longer necessary.
I am a firm believer that knowledge is power, and gaining the knowledge of how to do a basic search can only help you. But only to a certain point.
Performing you own patent search can assist you in learning about what’s already on the market. That can help you figure out if your idea is worth pursuing. It can also aid you in potentially coming up with your own version of a prototype.
Prototypes, even if they are made of duct tape and pipe cleaners, can help describe you idea to a professional patent searcher or a patent attorney. After all, a picture is worth a thousand words.
Going Beyond Performing Your Own Patent Search
Once you have determined if you can proceed without infringing on ideas already on the market, it’s time to get that professional search done. Why? Simply put, you have a vested interest in NOT finding anything that stands in your way. A neutral party will be exactly that, neutral, and ultimately more thorough.
There’s also the time factor. It takes days to do a good search. Most inventors have a day job. For the dollars spent on the search, your time is more valuable.
Because all your future business decisions are based on what comes back in the search report, this is not the step to skimp on. That’s why performing your own patent search can be helpful initially, but not enough of a search in the long run.
What Makes a Professional Search So Important
A good search includes a USPTO search, international search, and a product search. A good USPTO search is done by classification not by keywords. Most inventors only do a keyword search, but professional searchers know to dig deeper. They are not deterred by language barriers and know how to look at diagrams and drawings as well as verbal descriptions.
It’s very important that an international search be done as part of a comprehensive search because if your invention has been done anywhere in the world at any time in history, you will not be granted a U.S. patent. It doesn’t matter if you are planning to sell internationally or not.
How Much Does a Professional Patent Search Cost
A professional search from a reputable company should cost around $500. If paying $500 for a search over taxes your monetary resources, you may want to re-think taking your idea to market. It does take some up front funds on your part.
Do as much as you can yourself. But when you eventually get sick of searching (as you undoubtedly will), it’s time to have a professional take another look.
For some further reading using a patent searches, check out the Inventor’s Galaxy Guide.
You can also look in to this company, Search Quest Patents. They are a reputable company that I know do a thorough job.