Individuals and companies in the process of patenting an invention must conduct a thorough patent search. A comprehensive patent search involves reviewing related patents and publications to ensure the new invention meets patent eligibility requirements.
Review these basics about the patent search process before applying for a patent.
The United States Patent and Trademark Office will only issue a patent when an invention meets these standards:
- The patent application must include clear, detailed descriptions of the product. The inventor must describe the manufacturing process and the intended use of the product. A layperson should be able to understand the invention from the descriptions in the patent application.
- The invention must be novel, which means it does not replicate an invention that already exists.
- The invention must not be obvious, which means someone else in the same field would easily be able to come up with a similar idea.
The patent search addresses the USPTO’s novelty requirement.
Benefits of a patent search
A thorough patent search prevents an inventor or company from investing in a patent application for an invention that does not meet novelty requirements. During the patent search process, the team must cover all relevant prior art. This term refers to industry publications and patent applications that may describe a similar invention.
The expense of a professional patent search is minor compared to the cost of applying for an ineligible patent. Filing a patent application for an ineligible invention also has implications for intellectual property because the company must disclose the details of the invention in the USPTO filing.