Patent Search Report: Everything You Need to Know
A patent search report is important if you are interested in filing for patent protection for your invention. 3 min read
Patent Search Report
A patent search report is important if you are interested in filing for patent protection for your invention. The report itself provides a list of all current and pending patents that are similar or identical to your invention. This report gives you a greater understanding of your own invention to determine whether or not your invention meets the novel and non-obvious requirements that are required for all inventions to be patentable.
All About Patent Searches
• If your invention has already been patented in the U.S., or in any country, then you cannot patent your invention.
• The United States Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO) website provides information only on U.S. issued patents.
• You can also search through Google Patents to find U.S. issued patents.
• A professional can help you perform a patent search and identify similar patents that may cause a problem for you if you wish to submit a patent application for your invention.
• If you run a patent search and come up with no results, then you’ll want to run several patent searches on identical and similar inventions, as you shouldn’t receive ‘no results’ on your searches.
• Even if you find similar inventions to yours, this does not mean that your invention cannot be patented.
• Any modifications or enhancements in a previously patented invention can probably be patented. However, keep in mind that the USPTO examiner may indicate that the modified or enhanced invention does not meet the ‘non-obvious’ requirement.
Requesting Search Reports
• The search report itself must be requested by the inventor in order to determine if your invention is novel and non-obvious.
• The Search Report must be requested within 21 months of the application filing date. If not, your application will be refused.
• The search report will be thorough and detailed, identifying published documents of similar or identical inventions to keep a look out for.
• After you receive the search report, the examiner will publish it for the public to view.
• If your patent application isn’t withdrawn after you receive the search report, then you will be required to amend your patent application based on the search report. If you don’t believe that you need to amend based on the report, then you will submit a statement indicating as such.
Frequently Asked Questions
Why should I do a patent search?
Before spending time and money on filing your patent application, a search will identify if there are any similar or identical inventions out there that are already protected by a patent. Further, if you submit your patent application, or even begin using your product, and it is a product that is already protected, that inventor could potentially bring a patent infringement suit against you.
Who can conduct a patent search?
Anyone can conduct a search via the online USPTO search database. Keep in mind that this search only provides information for patents issued in 1976 to current. To have a complete and thorough search done, you might want to hire a professional to do it for you.
Can I be guaranteed that a complete and proper search will be done if I pay a professional to do it for me?
No such guarantee can be made. One important thing to remember is that pending patent applications can take up to 18 months to publish after filing, so even if a professional conducts the search for you, pending patent applications will not show up in the search results.
While you may be surprised, it can be common for a patent examiner to reject your application. Examiners can and do rely on some patents that you likely didn’t even know about based on your search results. However, some rejections can be due to the fact that your description of the invention is too broad. Sometimes, a patent examiner uses several patents to reject your invention, taking certain parts of the patents on those inventions. The main key to obtaining patent protection is to have both a broad and narrow definition of your invention That way, if the examiner does in fact reject your application, you can amend your application to satisfy the examiner’s requirements.
If you need help with running a patent search report, 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.