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Before getting a Patent, most inventors start with a Patent Search (sometimes called a Knockout Search), to validate the originality of their idea and see similar inventions that are already patented. Once the idea has passed the Patent Search, it moves on to the Provisional Patent, ending with a formal patent application in the United States.
*Note: If you are looking to commercialize an invention in multiple countries, you should consider an International Patent Search instead.
Attempting to file a patent without conducting a search is likely to result in a costly and failed patent application. There are millions of patents filed in the USA, so it’s important to make sure you’re actually patenting something new.
The easy way.
The patent database is publicly available, but there are more than 10 million patents registered and it is extremely difficult to use. Patent lawyers know how and what to search for and which existing inventions will be important to consider during your upcoming patent applications.
The largest patent office on Earth.
Most inventions on Earth are patented in the USA. Even if they’re patented in other countries, they’re usually also patented in America. Having a successful patent in the USA makes it much easier to file your patent in other countries.
Set yourself up for success.
A fast and affordable search through Goodlawyer is the first step toward registering a patent, which is often critical to commercializing your new invention.
First you'll have a kick-off call with your Good Lawyer to discuss your current situation. After the call, your lawyer will carefully complete your Report. They will share a copy of the final document.
1. Project kick-off call to gather information, advise you and answer questions
2.Patent searches in the US Patent Office databases
3. A report on the searches, including similar or otherwise relevant patents
Pick a time to discuss your Patent Search with a patent lawyer.
Tell your lawyer what your invention is, providing as much detail as possible so they can conduct the search properly.
Your lawyer will send you the results of their searches and advise you on how to proceed with your US patent application.
Get your paperwork done the easy way so you can get back to running your business.
Yes, absolutely. You can use the Goodlawyer platform to send messages and files. If substantially more communication is needed, your lawyer may request another call.
Patent Searches are relatively quick. You should expect to wait 5 - 10 business days before receiving your report. If your invention requires substantial searching, it could take longer but your lawyer will let you know.
Patents only cover new and inventive technical ideas and improvements. This covers a wide swath of physical products and software, but will generally not include mere abstract ideas. Patents don’t cover branding (this is protected by trademark) or creative expression (this is protected by copyright). Your lawyer will be able to give you a better idea on your kick off call. Additionally, for more information on intellectual property in general, you can check out our blog.
A Provisional Patent Application is essentially a placeholder application that can be filed to save your spot in line while you work out the granular details of your patent. It still includes things like a description and drawings, but does not include other critical parts of the application like declarations and oaths, etc. The provisional patent is NOT reviewed by the patent office and will not roll-over into an official patent application upon expiration. You must file a formal patent application before your provisional patent expires. Learn more about Provisional Patent Applications.
Provisional Patent Applications give the inventor 12 months to file a full patent. If they miss that window, they lose their place in line and competitors may be able to claim that they completed their application first.
Successful patents last for 20 years from the date they are first filed with the office. Your patent will be publicly available for competitors to search and read, so it’s important to be aware of your patent’s expiration date and be ready to renew at the appropriate time.it to your lawyer.
Generally yes, but there are a couple of common areas where patents can be missed. First, patents that have been filed but not published in the database will never be uncovered. That means searches are likely to miss the last 18 months of data. Second, this search only includes US patent databases.
No, you don’t need a local lawyer to file a US patent.
Goodlawyer is an interactive online service that makes it faster and easier for clients to find and hire legal help solely based on their preferences. We are not a law firm, do not provide any legal services, legal advice or “lawyer referral services” and do not provide or participate in any legal representation.