“Can my invention be patented” is a frequent question I hear as a patent attorney. A patent search is an important first step to take before filing a patent application. In order for an invention to be patentable, the invention must be novel (i.e. at least some aspect of it must be new) and non-obvious. I recommend all my clients do a patent search before filing for any sort of patent application.
There are a least two major benefits in performing a quality patent search:
1) Gain knowledge in the patentability of your invention
Why waste energy, time and money pursuing a patent on an idea which is not patentable? A patent search will find similar inventions to yours, and the associated patent search report will give you a knowledge as to whether or not your invention can be patented.
A quality patent search report will also contain a patent attorney’s comments on the patentability of your inventions. It is a much more complicated question than whether your invention simply exists. What if an existing invention is similar to yours, but not exactly the same? What if there are multiple inventions which can be combined to come up with something similar to your invention? How new does your idea have to be?
A professional opinion from a qualified patent attorney can help you answer these questions.
2) Work around existing inventions to improve the chances of success
The patent search will reveal other inventions similar to yours. By seeing these other inventions, you have the chance to further develop your own invention to be more unique compared to what is already out there. This will improve your chances of getting a patent allowed, because you have already anticipated some of the references that will be revealed. The patent search also helps your patent attorney in drafting your patent application. By analyzing prior art similar to your invention, your patent attorney can draft the patent application to distinguish your invention from the prior art improving your chances of obtaining patent protection.
Please feel free to contact me with any patent questions at firstname.lastname@example.org. As an Los Angeles Patent Attorney, I serve Los Angeles, Orange County, Irvine, San Diego, Southern California and surrounding cities. I also serve clients around the country, and worldwide.