Patent searching is one of the most important steps in successfully filing a patent that's going to ensure the intellectual prominence of your venture or discovery into the future. You need to make sure there's not already an existing patent related to your accomplishment before you invest time, energy, and money into filing a patent.
Patent searching is definitely a skill that you'll need to invest some time into sharpening. The following are four things you should know to do from the get-go for the best possible results:
Familiarize yourself with the best patent search engines
There are quite a few different patent "search engines" out there that will be enormously useful to you in your search. These website are often free to use, and the most popular feature informational resources from as many as 90 million different patent documents.
Put some time into tracking down the best online patent search engines, because these will probably be the most practical tools out there to help you in your search.
Take advantage of the query by example feature
When you query by example during a patent search, you can use an existing patent that you know about to find related patents. Using this technique, you're taking patents you're aware of and using them as "seed documents" by searching for similar documents.
When you use this feature, the algorithm of the search engine you're using will automatically generate a relevant set of keywords, thus saving you a lot of work.
Learn how to use value indicators
Value indicators include the number of citations that a particular patent has received. This type of indicator shows how influential and fundamental the patent is.
Understanding how these value indicators work for patents that are similar to the one you are interested in filing can help you file a patent that attracts more attention and gets more citations. This will increase your influence in your industry and could potentially offer you free publicity well into the future.
Take advantage of the OR operator
If you're interested in filing a patent, you may already be familiar with Boolean logic. The three Boolean operators you'll probably be considering using in your search are AND, OR, and NOT.
Using the Boolean operator "OR" will leave you with more results than "AND," and this leaves many patent searchers feeling that using it is unnecessarily time consuming. However, it will also be time consuming if you fail to track down a patent of interest and waste your time filing a patent that is too closely related to something that's already been filed.
By using the OR operator, you can narrow down all the results you get back through using the "sort by relevance" feature of the patent search website you're using. Usually, you can quickly go down the list and pick out pertinent results before getting down far enough that results are no longer relevant and can simply be ignored.
Contact a patent attorney, like those at Lingbeck Law Office and similar locations, for more help and tips.