Should I do a patent search for my invention?

In most cases, inventors are looking to obtain patent protection for their invention. Filing a patent application can be expensive and can be a complete waste of time and money if the invention is not new. This is where doing a patent novelty search is important. A patent novelty search in conducted in order to answer the question: “Is my invention new?” Generally, the patent novelty search involves searching one more patent databases based on carefully selected keywords. If the keywords are not selected properly then the search may exclude relevant patents to may end up including too many patents.  Once the search is completed, the patents that were found must be analyzed in order to answer the question :”Is may invention novel?” This analysis is not easy to do because patents are written in legal and technical language. Therefore, the analysis is best left to a patent attorney.

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Patents do not give right to practice

Clients often have difficulty understanding that a patent does not give them the right to practice the patented invention. A patent is a negative right in that it gives the patentee the right to stop others from making, using, selling… the patented invention.

In practicing your own patented invention you may be infringing the patent of another. As example serves to illustrate:

Assume that the basic automobile was still protected by a patent. If you were the inventor of an automobile with traction control then you would be able to patent your invention. However, in practicing your invention you must first make an automobile and then add the traction control feature. In making the automobile you will be infringing the automobile patent.

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