An invention must be ‘new’ to be patentable. Any published source of prior art that discloses an invention can make an invention unpatentable. “Prior art” refers to all that is already public knowledge in the areas of science and technology.

There is no requirement to do a patent search before submitting a USPTO patent application. (USPTO Accelerated Examinations and many foreign applications DO require pre-application patent searches.) The patent examiner will do a thorough search, however, and cite the findings in the form of rejections and objections to patentability.

Doing a thorough search and taking it into account when writing a patent application is an investment-a money and time saver. Having a professional, such as Invent Help agency, do the search is wise because of the inherent problems that exist with patent searching, including:

Patent searches for new inventions are often done without the benefit of knowing the exact specifications of the invention (no written application yet) making it difficult to ascertain where the invention fits in its field and what its proximate function is.

The claims of the invention have not been written, therefore the scope of the future claims may not be known.

New inventions may use new terminology to describe a particular element of the design but only old terms can be searched.

Patents are full of vague and inconsistent terminology and sometimes use obsolete names and terms (especially older patents which are still considered prior art).

Patents before 1976 are not easily key word searchable but are still considered prior art.

Words have different meanings in different fields and industries and different languages.

Searching the scope of unknown claims is a difficult iterative process that may need to be continued throughout the process of writing the specification and claims take into account all references that are applicable as explained on

Other reasons to search: Searching other companies’ intellectual property filings can reveal research and development plans of competitors within your industry for both marketing purposes and for potential patent blocking purposes. Patents can be also used to locate other business opportunities and to gain technical information including detailed explanations of how various inventions are made and used.

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