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?
Conducting this kind of search is beneficial, because it helps you determine if you have a chance to obtain a patent before you do the work. Rather than putting in the application and paying fees first, you can do a prior art search to decide if it’s even worth your time and money to apply. Also, it makes it less likely that you will waste time waiting for an approval only to get rejected.
Is Passing This Search a Guarantee for a Patent?
Unfortunately a successful prior art search is not a guarantee that your patent will get approved. Patent laws and the patent process are complicated and there are other things that can get in your way of approval. This is why it’s wise to hire a patent lawyer, because they know how the laws work and can help walk you through the process.
Prior art searches are a good first step once you’ve come up with an invention. It’s a way of protecting yourself as you go into the patent process and making sure you’re not wasting your time and money. You can get assistance with it or do it on your own, but it’s not something that you should skip if you wish to obtain a patent.