Several patent search strategies and concepts can improve a novelty search. Below are several that are useful when using Google Patents as the primary search tool.
The Novelty Search
First, what is a novelty search? A novelty search is also known as a prior art search and a patentability search. The novelty search is the search that an inventor would use to determine if an invention was new. These types of searches seek to understand what the prior art teaches.
“About” Link – Located at the bottom of the Google patents homepage, Links to the Google Patents overview page describing search rules.
Abstract Search – Searches the abstract of documents using the characters “AB=”. (Did not seem to be working properly at the time of writing)
ADJ/x Operator – Search operator that favors results with terms that are within x words of one another and in the order specified.
25 + Tips focused on Google Patents as the primary search tool so professional patent search experience is not required
1. Google Patents is the easiest search tool, and perhaps the best
If you can do a Google search you can use Google patents. You don’t need to know anything about Boolean searching and you don’t need to know much of anything about patent law. Type in a few key terms and see if your invention is new. Print the document or write down fully identifiable information for the most relevant document your find. (Example: US Pat. No. 1,234,567)
The first step of patent searching:
2. Write out a feature list:
Text searching is the most common form of patent searching. In order to make the most of text searching, you should work from a feature list. Then you can search combinations of features using tools like Google patents. Write down terms and phrases that are important to your invention.
driver's seat, seat warmer, headrest, electric motor, tilting headrest
Zero in on a phrase using quotes like below, but be careful. Using quotes removes all documents without the exact quote.
driver's seat, seat warmer, headrest, "electric motor" tilting headrest
Patent relevant pages for a variety of purposes
The patent process can be expensive. Getting an idea of where you stand before you start spending money can save time and money.
Write down some features
Almost every invention is either a combination of physical features or a combination of steps. That list of features can serve as your earliest rough draft definition of what you invented.
The patent search tool you use depends on why your are searching.
Google Patent Search
For a quick search or for the novice searcher, Google Patents may be the best tool on the web. The search engine accepts natural language search queries and can deliver quality relevant results quickly with a user experience that is like the Google web searches.
While Google’s patent search in many respects is not as powerful as traditional Boolean search tools, it more than makes up for that disadvantage by being very easy to use and because it ranks results by relevance. Ranking results is extremely important to the novice searcher who is less familiar with techniques that narrow the number of results to a manageable list.
US Patent Database
While limited to issued US patents, the USPTO Patent Search is a powerful Boolean search tool. This may be an advantage in many situations as it allows for the search of individual sections of patents and combinations using AND/OR type operators. However, if you aren’t taking advantage of the extra power offered by such limitations, the USPTO patent search may not be the best option.
USPTO Application Search
The USPTO Patent Application search is the same type of search as the USPTO patent search, but it covers published patent applications.
Other Search Tools
For a Louisiana inventor those search options are a great start. After doing some initial searching, a Louisiana patent attorney may be able to help you get a professional search which may be an in house search or a third party professional search.
By John Edel
Baton Rouge Patent Attorney
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.