How to Conduct a Patent Search

By Miguel Taveras, Noro IP Patent Division Director

So, you have determined you need to conduct a patent search but you’re not sure where to start? Here are some tips and tricks to help get you started.

Home Grown Detective Patent Search

In the simplest sense, if someone has patented your idea already you will not be eligible for a patent. So the easiest way to figure out if you can get a patent is to discover what is already patented or being sold in the marketplace. If you see your idea already implemented, then it is unlikely you will be granted a patent (*unless it is an unobvious improvement). 

Search Engine Patent Searching

1. Perform a regular old Google search for your invention and see if it is in the market already. This is a really easy and free way to determine your likelihood of success. Also, Google has recently launched a free patent search engine at that makes for a great place to search for patents.

2. You can search the U.S Patent and Trademark Office online yourself at The USPTO has a free search engine where you can perform a basic patent search yourself.  Any patent that has ever been issued is contained in the USPTO’s database, so this is an ideal place to look for other inventions similar to your own.

3. You can also do a patent search by using third party search engines. Most of these won’t be free, but there are several out there and some of them have special rates for individuals looking for only a 3 day or less search pass.

Profession Patent Search

While it is possible to conduct a patent search on your own, there patent agents, attorneys and companies that specialize in conducting patent searches. They have access to additional patent information areas that are not publicly accessible and they also will know exactly where to search for inventions similar to your patent. Hiring a professional company is the only way to ensure you do not miss important information that may cost you thousands of dollars down the road. The patent specialists at Noro IP are eager to help you in your patent searching endeavors and they can do so for less than $500 in most cases.  For more information regarding Noro IP's patent searches or patent applications, please see our patentability search or patent application pages. 

Regardless of your choice everyone here at Noro IP wishes you the best of luck!

October 6, 2009

Category: Patent Basics, How To..., IP for Entrepreneurs

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Disclaimer: No information on this blog is intended as legal advice or to substitute for legal advice and is offered for informational purposes only.

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