What is a Prior Art Search?
If you are going to apply to obtain a patent you will want to do a prior art search first. This is where you or a professional searches databases for prior art for inventions and concepts that are similar to the one you wish to patent. If something similar is found then there is a strong chance that your application will be rejected.
Can You Do It Yourself?
It is is possible with the tools modern internet provides to do a prior art search on your own. However, it is less likely to be thorough enough that way and it is wise to enlist the help of a professional. The only time that it is a good idea to do it on your own rather than outsourcing the task is if you are an expert in the field you are inventing in. This is because you will be more versed in what already exists.
What are the Benefits of a Prior Art Search?