You have done a lot of brainstorming and tinkering with your invention. Now you want to protect your work and ideas. If you are considering applying for a patent, then you will want to get started off right. As you plunge into the patent process, you may want to do a patent search. A patent search will allow you to see previously issued patents, as well as published applications.
There are four types of patent searches you should be aware of:
- Novelty/ patentability search. This search is done to determine the likelihood of getting a patent through the USPTO. This search does not check for infringements. This can help determine any competition and how to move forward.
- Freedom to operate search. This search helps inventers determine if they should commercialize their product. This search looks at existing patents and helps determine if the inventor can operate and commercialize the product without infringing.
- Non-infringement opinion search. This search is targeted towards a certain patent. The point of this search is to determine if the invention will infringe upon a specific patent. This type of search is best for inventors who are aware of existing competitors.
- Validity search. This search is done when an infringement lawsuit is pursued, or if an inventor is looking to purchase or license particular patents. The point of this search is to determine if the patent is valid and enforceable. The search will check to see if a patent is valid.
There are three main types of patents:
- Utility patent
- Design patent
- Plant patent
You will want to do a patent search before you fill out a patent application. It may be beneficial to run a search if you believe that your patent is being infringed upon. Your inventions and ideas are important. Protect your intellectual property in the best way possible.