What is a Patent?
A patent is an exclusive right granted by a state, particularly a national government, to an inventor or assignee, for a limited amount of time in exchange for a public disclosure of the underlying invention or idea.
The procedure for issuing patents, the requirements placed on the holder of the patent and the extent to which the exclusivity rights protect the invention or idea will vary widely between countries based on particular national law and international agreement. In most cases, a patent application will include one or more claims to define the invention; to obtain a patent, the idea or invention must be new, useful, non-obvious or industrially applicable.
A patent offers the creator of a particular invention or idea the exclusive right to prevent others from making, using, distributing or selling the patented invention without permission. A patent is simply, a right to prevent other manufacturers, individuals or producers from using the underling invention or idea. Patents are regulated under the World Trade Organization’s Agreement on Trade-Related Aspects of Intellectual Property Rights; this organization will make patents available to WTO member states for any inventions or ideas relating to all fields of technology. The terms attached to such patents will offer exclusive rights to holders for a minimum of twenty years; however, different types of patents may have varying terms attached to the exclusivity of the underlying patent.
What is a Patent Search and how do I conduct one?
A patent search is a fundamental step required to obtain a patent. A patent search enables an inventor or individual with a novel idea to cross-reference his particular vision to ensure that it has yet to be patent by another developer or inventor. In simple terms, the patent search will inspect all previously-issued patents and observe the inventions and ideas in which they cover to make sure that your particular idea or invention has not been patent already.
There are several ways to conduct a patent search; an individual can utilize a professional service or can conduct an online patent search to evaluate all previously-issued patents in a particular industry or field. To conduct a self-driven patent search you must first determine what type of patent you will be seeking. For instance, a utility patent will cover the functional aspects of your invention, whereas a design patent will only cover the appearance of your particular invention.
After you have chosen which type of patent to go after, you must access an online patent database, offered by GOOGLE, the U.S. Patent Office, the United States Trademark Office or IBM. Upon inspecting these services, you must determine the most relevant classes and subclasses for your particular invention.
Once you have determined the subclasses, you must read the class descriptions in the database to observe which are relevant to your underlying idea. During this process you must review all patents issued within those particular classes; to conduct this search, you must use comprehensive keyword searches for your potential invention.
If you don’t feel like partaking in a self-driven patent search you can hire professional search to conduct the patent search for you. A patent agent or attorney, is an individual who possesses technical training and is licensed by the United States PTO in order to prepare and administer patent applications.