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SECTION INDEX:

Patentability: Does Your Idea Qualify for a Patent?

INVENTING 101

Free Online Course

SECTION: Patentability: Does Your Idea Qualify for a Patent?


HOW TO DO YOUR OWN PRELIMINARY PATENT SEARCH

By Stephen Paul Gnass


As a start, you can do your own preliminary patent search at the United States Patent & Trademark Office [USPTO] patent server. To access the patent server, click on the link in the box below. But be sure to learn how to do a patent search first with the free tutorial listed further down this page.
USPTO's PATENT SEARCH DATABASE
Please note that a separate window will open for you to access the database. When you are finished, you can close the window and return here to NCIO.


It is important to note the following advice:
--->that although we highly recommend that you do this initial and preliminary patent search on your own, we also advise that you have a professional patent search done before applying for a patent.

The advantages of doing your own preliminary patent search are many, including:

1) You will become familiar with other patents that may be similar to yours so that you can ask your patent attorney intelligent questions about the similarities and/or differences between your product and these patents, and thus help you develop a unique patent;

2) You will personally become more knowledgeable of other products that are similar to yours, which is important "competitive" information when it comes to raising funding or licensing your product;

3) You will learn about the patenting process, including the detailed categorization of products, and how to do a patent search, which you can later use for other ideas.

4) You may realize early on, before spending any money, that there are too many similar products [too much competition] and decide to abort the idea.

However, remember that...
Since you are in the learning stages, you are an "amateur" at this, and still need the "patentability opinion" of a registered patent attorney or patent agent.

FREE PATENT SEARCH TUTORIAL:

There is an online Patent Search Tutorial that takes you step-by-step to teach you the basics of doing a patent search. It is at:

Click here for FREE PATENT SEARCH TUTORIAL - VIDEO
Please note that a separate window will open for you to do the search. When you are finished, you can close the window and return to NCIO.


Click here for FREE PATENT SEARCH TUTORIAL
Please note that a separate window will open for you to do the search. When you are finished, you can close the window and return to NCIO.

However please note that the U.S. Patent & Trademark Office says that
"you can search patents on the web, but you can't do a patent search". This means that while you are able to search patents, that you shouldn't consider this to be a patent search, because professional patent searches are more in-depth and there are many technicalities that the general public doesn't know about that could affect the strength of the patent. However, it's a great "PRELIMINARY" patent search.

So be sure to contact the closest U.S. Patent & Trademark Depository Library [PTDL] nearest you and speak with a qualified and trained staff person. To find the PTDL(s) for your state, click here for NCIO's list of nationwide PTDLs.

The U.S. Patent & Trademark Office also has detailed web site information on their Patent & Trademark Depository Libraries (PTDLs), with general information about the mission, history and background, announcements, frequently asked questions, services, and publications. It is at:

FAQS ABOUT PTDLS
Please note that a separate window will open for you to view this information. When you are finished, you can close the window and return to NCIO.

CONTACT THE USPTO

To ask questions or request publications from the U.S. Patent & Trademark Office, you can call them directly at 800 786-9199 or 571-272-1000.

For detailed contact information including their mailing address, or asking the USPTO questions by e-mail, visit their web site at:
CONTACT THE USPTO
Please note that a separate window will open for you to view this information. When you are finished, you can close the window and return to NCIO.

--End--
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