Who are patent engineers?
Patent engineers are law professionals who assist in the preparation of patent filings. Patent attorneys often have a group of Patent Engineers on staff. Many Patent Engineers have technical degrees.
www. Patent Engineers .com

How to patent an idea, and profit from your invention
Patent an invention
Find Patent Attorneys
Search Prior Art

 

 

 

    Topic  
    Index  
   
01 Profiting from your inventions 101 (How to file a patent)
the patent process
02 What is an invention?
novelty, patentable subject matter
03 How do patents protect your rights to an invention?
rights, enforcement
04 Why use an Inventor's Logbook
why it is important to keep one
05 How to keep an Inventor's Logbook
guidelines and tips
06 Copyrights, trademarks and patents.
is one better than the other
07 What does a patent look like?
embodiments, claims etc.
08 Which countries should I file my patent in?
usually in more than one country
09 How much time and money to file in?
legal fees, time taken
10 How do I collect royalties off my patents?
enforcement
11 Search for prior art
resources and databases
12 Your responsibilities
and your attorney's responsibilities
A Case study: a patent (part 1)
a patent dissected
B Case study: a patent (part 2)
a patent dissected
C 10 Simple Inventions
used all over the world!
D Tips for Inventors
pitfalls and hints
E How to Invent
(Anyone can be an inventor!)

how to start inventing
F The patent process
the formal patent process
   
       
 
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How do I search for prior art?

Prior art refers to the knowledge that humanity currently has. In other words, knowledge and know-how that pre-dates your invention. For your invention to receive patent protection, you must be able to demonstrate that it is not already known to humanity in some way or the other. In cases where certain aspects of your invention are already known to, or have been invented by others, you may still be eligilble to receive patent protection on the novel parts of your invention.

Searching for prior art can be a time consuming process. Patent attorneys often offer a search service where a law professional can perform prior art searches for a fee. This usually involves searching all existing patents, patent applications, industry journals, research papers, and technical discolure databases. Google is also an excellent place to search for prior art.

Even if you decide to engage a patent search professional, it often makes sense to do a cursory search of prior art just to make sure that your idea is new. This can save you lots of fees if someone has already patented an idea which you were thinking of. This happens more often than you think. There are millions of patents in the world in almost every imaginable field of human endeavor!

Places to search for prior art:
Prior art technical disclosures
at IP.com
Prior art technical disclosures
at Research Disclosure
Patent applications and patents granted
at Google Patents
Patent applications and patents granted
at Delphion

IP.com and Research Disclosure are two companies that maintain databases of technical disclosures. Some inventors (or companies) come up with interesting ideas which they don't want to spend money patenting, but at the same time they don't want their competitors to patent these ideas and prevent them from using it. In such cases, they deliberately release the details of the invention into the public domain, so that it becomes prior art. This is called a defensive publication, and it prevents other people from patenting the idea in future. IP.com and Research Disclosure maintain databases where inventors and companies can publish their inventions and make it part of the prior art. Their databases have secure timestamping and other features to accurately record when submissions are incorporated into their databases.

Delphion is a company that maintains a database of patents and patent applications filed in various countries across the world. Google Patents also attempts to index such information, and is a good free alternative to Delphion.



Search for a patent attorney near you:
(e.g. "San Diego patent attorneys")

 

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Please consult a qualified patent attorney to prepare your patent.

 
   
       
       
Copyright © 2008 Wei-lung Wang All rights reserved.
Email: wang@patentengineers.com.