Much of patent searching depends on a number of factors to consider:
- how authoritative do you want the search to be
- how up to date do your want the information to be
- how much time do you have to spend on this search
- your comfort level with using a computer and search systems
- the invention – is it innovative technology or does it require searching patents prior to 1975
- your knowledge of U.S. patent classification and the recent change from USPC to CPC (you will need to search both systems)
- do you need to search just patents or also patent applications
Overall, patent searching can be rather complex and therefore I recommend keeping a simple log of your process and progress.
A simple log may track:
Date of search - Search Database - Search terms used - Number of results - Patents of interest - Patent Class/Subclass - Notes
To determine if an invention has been patented a thorough patent search should be conducted. This will entail searching a number of different patent websites, so it is wise to keep a journal of your work as to not duplicate efforts.
1. Brainstorm Keywords to describe your invention - think of synonyms.
2. Use Keywords to search for a similar match of your invention in Google Patents.
3. Note the class and subclass of the similar invention - either in USPC or CPC, or both.
5. Trace related patents through references.