If your Baton Rouge company has a new product or service and you don’t know of anyone else that has anything like it, be careful. A patent application is a significant investment.The company’s investment in a patent application is not like an investment in vehicle or other tangible item.
A bad decision investing in a patent application can result in zero return on your investment.
One of the first and most important steps in evaluating whether to pursue a patent application is understanding whether the invention is new. There are particular rules governing what information and literature is used to judge whether an invention is new but the information that can be used against a patent application is vast and includes most of the publicly available literature in the world. Essentially, just because competitors and colleagues in the Baton Rouge area have not seen anything like the invention does not mean it will survive review by a patent examiner. Having a patent search by a professional searcher is a good first step in understanding the mass of applicable literature and is typically a modest investment compared to the cost of a patent application. A professional patent search may be a good way to understand the probability of achieving a US patent. In addition to helping evaluate the merits of a patent application the results of the search can add value to the application by bringing into focus which aspects of an invention are the most significant improvements over prior technology. Having a better understanding of the significance of individual aspects of an invention may also allow a patent attorney to better draft a patent application.
However, in some cases a patent search may be less valuable. In particular, a search may be of little value when the invention is in a narrow field that is well-known by the inventor.