Patent Research Process

Do you patent your products? how do you do your research to see if something you sell isn’t patented? What if something you make is already patented? It would be nice if you could make a video on this topic. I sometimes have cool ideas, but don’t know how to bring them to life/public

@Future patents are very specific to your item and business situation.

If you are a solo inventor without a company and without a lot of extra funds(about $20k), I would advise focusing on getting a product to market first, especially if there’s no major upfront investment in getting products made. There’s no point in applying for a patent that may not end up being worth anything. You can also look at a provisional patent application, which costs less upfront and buys you some time to prove out the market. (there are caveats with this approach, which I am not qualified to explain)

I have been to many tradeshows where people come up and try to sell us their inventions, and I have only seen one invention worth considering, this is before even looking at whether their patent was worth anything.

If you really want to understand more about patents you should get some books about it like “Patents Demystified” instead of relying on random blogs or internet people (myself included). If you want to patent, don’t use a non-specialist and don’t DIY. Patents are a highly specialized field, especially when it comes to utility patents. Also, any service that promises to help you patent or commercialize your patent like Invent Help is usually a poor investment. I would use stronger language to describe these offerings, but don’t need that kind of trouble.

IMHO, design patents are generally not that useful for tools, but they can have their place.

For utility patents, you need to remember that anyone can get a utility patent issued, but whether it is useful or defensible is a different matter. For utility patents, the more vague the patent, the more powerful it is (it covers more areas). The more specific the patent, the less powerful it is (covers less areas).

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With regard to patent research, you can pay attorneys to research for you, or research yourself on google patents. It is very difficult for most people to interpret patent language, also many patent attorneys may not fully understand your industry.

If we think an item we want to produce is patented, we will research the underlying patent claims to see how strong they are. This is a nuanced area, where you need to either rely on a patent attorney or have a pretty strong ability to read patent claims. Often we use a combination of our own analysis, that we then take to a patent attorney to confirm and conduct more thorough research. For example, patent expiration dates are a weird thing that is not always straightforward.

If you don’t see a variation of your idea on the market saying that it is patented, chances are you will be ok.

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