1. Google Patents Advanced
2. Why Use this Tool?
3. Keyword Searches
4. Trademark and Patent Classifications
5. Next Steps

Google Patents Advanced

Google Patent Advanced is a tool launched by Google in 2015 to make the chore of searching patents a little easier. It is also the answer for inventors who are looking to save a little money while doing their own search of current patents.

You may have heard of Google’s 20 percent time projects where engineers were able to work on whatever interested them. Google Patent Advanced was one of those projects. It is a great tool for inventors who want to search for patents similar to one they are considering patenting. You may have already read this article on Google searches for patents.

Why Use this Tool?

Often, an inventor will spend time looking through patents to understand what has already been patented and to look at the art of other inventions. It is time and again the very first step of an inventor to do a search of this kind before any application has been created for their own patent.

Certainly, a professional search can cost a great deal of money. However, their experience and familiarity with terms used by patent agents and patent attorneys will save a great deal of time and ensure that the search is as effective as possible. Having said that, there are wonderful and free tools that can help an inventor quickly check to see if anything similar is out there.

Keyword Searches

Keyword searches are the way everyone begins a search online. In the search box, terms are typed and then the search button is pushed. You would probably put in words that describe your idea or invention. Because you are not a professional patent agent or patent attorney, the terms you use to search may not yield a full picture of the results that may be out there.

You must be disciplined to vary your description keywords to get the largest result. The secret keyword combination can open the way a bit, but there is still more to do. If you receive a reasonable number of results, then the digging begins. Read the patents themselves and discover which of them are relevant to what you are searching. This will take a great deal of time and patience.

Trademark and Patent Classifications

The United States Patent and Trademark Office uses a classification system to help searches be more specific. This technique is valuable but can be overly broad. You will need to familiarize yourself with the way that inventions are characterized by patent professionals like agents and attorneys. The features, concepts, and scientific principles are similar to a secret language that you must learn. Only after you have an extensive comprehension of all possible descriptions can you effectively search the classification systems.

Professional patent searchers frequently only do a patent classification search. Don’t be intimidated by this; a professional searcher accomplishes these searches for living. Doing this type of work day-in and day-out makes a professional fluent in the classification systems of the Patent Office, even more than an inventor or patent attorney.

You must discover the names and classifications that things are called. You will find that patent attorneys typically call certain aspects and features by a select names. These names are hardly ever obvious, but once you learn the industry nomenclature, you are far more likely to find relevant patents.

Next Steps

Once you have found similar patents (and are satisfied that you are ready to patent your invention), it’s time for the next step: obtaining an intellectual property attorney. Sometimes these attorneys are called patent lawyers. An experienced intellectual property attorney should walk you through the patent process, help you with paperwork, and keep you posted on changes in intellectual property law. If you decide to license your patent, the attorney can draft your licensing agreement and negotiate the terms of it for you.

In general, a licensing agreement spells out any upfront payments, how much royalties will be paid, when royalties will be paid, and infringement possibilities. Your lawyer will help you determine whether to grant exclusive or non-exclusive licenses. Non-exclusive licenses are granted to more than one entity. Exclusive licenses transfers manufacturing rights of the patent to the licensee, but the patent owner (or licensor) still owns the patent.

One interesting aspect of an exclusive license is that the licensee is given the right to sue for infringement. Often, an exclusive patent license is only good for a limited amount of time. A qualified patent attorney can help you navigate all of these issues and reduce the likelihood that you have unintended consequences in the long term.

If you need help with a patent search, patent application, or any legal need, you can post your legal need on UpCounsel’s marketplace. UpCounsel accepts only the top 5-percent of lawyers to its site. Lawyers on UpCounsel come from law schools such as Harvard Law and Yale Law, and average 14 years of legal experience, including work with, or on behalf of companies like Google, Menlo Ventures, and Airbnb.