PATENT SEARCHES & OPINIONS
Prior to investing time, energy and money on patent preparation and filing for a potentially valuable invention, it may be prudent to conduct a patentability search and render an opinion of patentability from a registered patent professional as to the likelihood that a patent of useful scope could be obtained.
Likewise, a thorough trademark search and professional opinion prior to bringing a product to market or filing a trademark is important. Just because a logo or a word is different, trade dress issues that cause consumer confusion is still a cause for concern.
Only practitioners licensed by the United States Patent & Trademark Office may render an Opinion of Patentability and practice before the Patent Office. Trademark Opinions may be sought from any Attorney so experienced. Further, performing due diligence prior to filing a patent or trademark application could mitigate any damages arising from willful and malicious infringement claims at a later date.
People search patents for many reasons, most often because they have an invention they hope to patent. A search will determine whether an invention has patenting potential. Others search patents to find alternative approaches and suggestions to help resolve technological problems. The Patent database holds information that is not published anywhere else in the world. This is a tremendous resource that provides a would-be inventor with critical insight.
Trademark searches are equally important to determine if a name or logo has been used as considered “live.” Such pertinent information is important both from a legal standpoint and that of marketing. It would be foolish to spend significant dollars branding a product to have it revoked.
Patents can also provide information that will help someone fabricating a repair part or may clarify the resources required to make an unfamiliar product work. Researchers also use patents for their historical usefulness and information, such as tracing the development of firearms, reviewing the inventive work of a particular inventor or company or finding patents issued to an ancestor.
Although no one is required to conduct a patent search, it is highly recommended that inventors have a patent search performed under the direction of a Registered Patent Attorney or Patent Agent and receive a considered Opinion of Patentability before filing a patent application. A search may yield information that could affect the patenting potential of their invention. Further, a patent search may also help inventors decide whether to modify their efforts in order to improve the probability of getting a patent.
COMMON TYPES OF PATENT SEARCHES:
NOVELTY SEARCH (Patentability Search)
Focuses on the most unique details of an invention or its most patentable qualities in order to develop an Opinion of Patentability.
PATENT COLLECTION SEARCH
Shows the evolution of a technology over a specified period of time. Both expired and un-expired patents are included as references. No Opinion of Patentability.
Provides an overview of current technology in a specific area with a concentration on the most recently issued patents to identify latest technology in the specific art class. No Opinion of Patentability.
Identify the most logical art classification(s) for the invention from over 166,000 classes and sub-classes in the United States Patent Database. No Patent Opinion possible.
Identifies un-expired patents with claims that may bar an inventor from making, using or selling a specific product. A search of the available published patent pending applications is also conducted. Infringement Opinion is provided.
A search of both issued and expired patents to determine if a particular technology is in public domain, free to use without obtaining permission from a patent holder. A Right-to-Use Opinion is provided.
An investigation to discover potential conflicts between a proposed Trademark or Service Mark and any Marks already in use in the marketplace.