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How do I present my wording for a patent search?

JenBJenB subscriber Posts: 2
edited April 2008 in Protecting Your Ideas
I`ve been trying to do my own patent search on an idea that I have. I am not sure how to word the search, or how to find similar items in the archives.
I have done market research by searching the Internet and Super stores. I haven`t found anything like my idea, which really surprises me since it`s a simple idea and not very complicated. Is this enough research, how long should I continue?
I don`t have the funds for an attorney at this time and would like to do the ground work myself.
Thanks for any help you might be able to offer me,


  • bookloverbooklover subscriber Posts: 8 Member
    You can go to the USPTO website, and do a quick patent search by
    putting in words.  Just use any combination you can think
    of.  But keep in mind, even if there are ideas like yours that
    have been patented, your idea may still be patentable.  The
    language of patents can be tough to understand, and you will eventually
    have to hire an attorney to do a complete search.  
  • JenBJenB subscriber Posts: 2
    How much does a patent attorney usually cost? I know the inital visit is sometimes free, but I want to know what it will cost to finish the job.
  • KateGKateG subscriber Posts: 12
    It varies a lot depending on how complicated your invention is, how much work (writing) you will do yourself and the firm that you pick.  Firms may provide searching services within their firm or may hire it out.  Depending on how exhaustive you want the search to be, this can be very expensive.  If you decide to file an application, fees will also depend on what kind of application (provisional, US or international) you would want to file.
    The answer to which strategy is best depends on your situation.  Perhaps you just want to file a provisional application (which has small filing fees compared to the other applications) and forego a search for now.
    Just to give you a ballpark, if you prepare a lot of written documentation yourself, you should be able to get a pretty good application drafted with a budget of $3000-$5000. 
    You might try searching on http://www.freepatentsonline.com/.  Click on the "search" tab and enter keywords in the box.  Make sure that it sorts the results by relevancy and not by date.  This will give you a sense as to whether patents have been filed on your idea.  Google searches will also help to identify whether anyone else has had the idea (who may not have filed a patent application on it), which may prevent you from getting a patent on the idea.
  • JenBJenB subscriber Posts: 2
    Thanks Kate,
    The problem I have with searches is I don`t really know what to call my product. It doesn`t have an obvious name. How do you find key words when you don`t even know what to call it??
    Also, after reading all of this it might not be something I can pursue right now with the costs. "sigh" Maybe it`ll just have to go on the back burner until I am able to raise enough capital.
    Thanks for your help,
  • JenBJenB subscriber Posts: 2
    I must have had a brain dead moment. My husband just came in the room and reminded me that one of my old friends just happens to be married to a patent attorney. DUH!
    I don`t want to abuse the relationship, but he did give me a head start. One of the best tips I have to share is Google has it`s own patent search engine. It`s fabulous for the beginner.
  • maluchnikmaluchnik subscriber Posts: 0
    If you are just starting out, I would file a `Provisional Patent.`  It only costs $105 and you can fill out the forms yourself.  It allows you to obtain the "patent pending" status on your idea for 12 months.  It allows you time to approach others and see if your idea is marketable.  It also allows you to share your idea without having to worry about everyone you talk to signing a non-discolure agreement.  In that 12 month window, you have to file for the non-provisional patent or else you basically loose rights to file for a patent and the idea is fair game to the public.
  • Innovator7Innovator7 subscriber Posts: 9

    In that 12 month window, you have to file for the non-provisional patent or else you basically loose rights to file for a patent and the idea is fair game to the public.

    Not true.  The idea may remain a secret.  PPA gets you the "priority day" which may not be worth much at all.
    Wannabe inventors must be realistic.  Most ideas are not worth the piece of paper they`re printed on.
    In USA, "first to invent" rule still applies.  So have your invention witnessed.  That may be more important than a PPA.
  • JenBJenB subscriber Posts: 2
    I agree with Innovator7,
    My invention may not be worth anything in the end, I like it but, hey whose to say the general public will? That is why I don`t want to blow a ton of money on attorney fees and such. SO I will do the foot work myself.
    My patent attorney friend did advise me to get a provisional patent first, especially if I already had some buyers in mind. I think it`s worth the small investment and a good place to start.
  • patentandtrademarkpatentandtrademark subscriber Posts: 103
    save the $105.  If you write the patent application and file it yourself, it will be worthless - based on my experience with lots of people in this situation. 
  • patentandtrademarkpatentandtrademark subscriber Posts: 103
    design patents are generally easier.
    it is possible to buy books and learn to speak a foreign language.  it ain`t easy.
  • Innovator7Innovator7 subscriber Posts: 9
    There`re exceptions to every "rule" especially when the "rule" is just personal experience.
    I know at least two cases where the patent attorney botched the prosecutions and the applications rejected after 3-4 years and probably $100K of attorney fees.
    How do i know?  One was my invention, the other was my potential competitor`s invention.  The latter works perfectly but the patent attorney didn`t understand electronics enough to do an adequate job.
    Those two cases are actually good for me, as my later patent application - pro se, sir - cruises thru the process.  Not even my potential patent attorney had anything to say about my claims, very broad, very short.
    Like I said, there`re exceptions.Innovator74/26/2008 4:28 PM
  • patentandtrademarkpatentandtrademark subscriber Posts: 103
    we agree.  some people can learn calculus or japanese with a book and an empty room.  others won`t learn with even the best teacher - and blame the teacher at the end.
  • Innovator7Innovator7 subscriber Posts: 9
    BTW, I`m your big exception, James, as I speak several languages too.  I did learn English and calculus etc... from books in an empty room all by myself when I was young.  My parents gave me no pocket money so I had to make do.
    I also read "Patent it Yourself", "Oregon Revised Statutes", California Corporate Laws, MPEP, patents from USPTO and EPO databases, and all the other bad stuff Innovator74/27/2008 2:34 PM
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