As soon as an idea for a new invention (or a new method or new software or the like) is undertaken, a patentability opinion of the invention to determine whether the idea is novel and non-obvious should be determined. This determines if the idea is eligible for patent protection.

A patentability search should be made by a registered patent attorney or agency, such as Invent Help, and the search results discussed with the inventor to determine if the invention is novel, non-obvious and whether the scope of the claims has value to the inventor’s business interests.

If the scope of the patentable claims has little or no value then a determination should be made to see whether the invention is worth pursuing. If the scope of the patentable claims has great commercial value then a patent application should be filed as soon as possible. Filing should occur before any public exposure of the invention to secure patent protection and to avoid losing potential rights in some foreign countries. Additionally, it is a good idea to file before any competitor files a patent application directed to a similar or the same invention.

A Patentability Search

A patentability search of all prior art including previous patents, published U.S. patent applications should be reviewed to determine if your invention already exists and is publicly disclosed and to determine if your new idea is patentable.

A search of foreign patents and published foreign applications can also be conducted. All relevant results are communicated to the patent office once an application is filed. A search of the prior art before the filing of an application is not required by the patent office but it is critical so an applicant can determine a claim scope of the new invention. This determines whether the claim scope has value and whether an applicant should proceed with filing before spending costly filing fees.

U.S. Patent Examiners will review the records once an application is filed. The U.S. Patent Examiner may cite both U.S. and foreign patent documents as a basis to refuse patent applications, or as a basis to force the applicant to amend the claims and to limit an inventor’s rights. The search should at least include a review of prior U.S. and foreign patents and published applications.

Sometimes, publications that are new cannot be readily detected. If a new patent application is filed recently with the Patent Office during the same time as a search, those new patent applications cannot be reviewed by the applicant until the new patent application has published. Therefore, it may be a good idea to conduct a comprehensive search of non-patent records as well and you can get support from InventHelp for this too.