Step by Step Invention New-1

You’ve had a great idea, but is there anything currently being sold that has the same or similar function.    A simple Google® search may give you an initial answer to that question. Think of a few different ways that you could describe your concept to someone. Use simple language. Think of keywords that would identify the function or look of your idea.  Then use these short descriptions and keywords as the basis for a series of searches on the internet.  Try web searches first.  If the results seem relevant, read the hits deep enough until the results have drifted off the topic.  If your concept is a design with a distinctive appearance, you could try an image search on Google®.  If a thorough search turns up nothing, it’s possible that there is currently no competing item  on the market.  Or at least whatever you do find appears to be inferior to your own invention.  In either case your idea may have a chance.

A good next step would be to do a basic patent search.  For this there are a couple of choices: The U.S. Patent and Trademark Office offers free searches.  However, if you want to view or print out a complete patent with drawings and claims there is a nominal charge of a few dollars.

http://www.uspto.gov/patents/process/search/index.jsp

An alternative patent search engine is available free on Google®.  The link below will take you to a screen where you can begin your search on a variety of criteria.  Type in a description or patent number and you will see a screen where you can refine your search.  The results show a full size display of the abstract (general description and benefits) and what is claimed in the patent.  If there are drawings within the patent you will see thumbnail images.  If you click on them they are shown at full size and can be printed.

http://www.google.com/?tbm=pts&hl=en

Think of the unique features of your invention.  Then consider relevant keywords and short descriptive terms to describe it.  You may be able to identify patents that could be relevant to your invention. Please bear in mind that if you need a thorough and complete patent search it’s advisable to employ the services of a patent attorney or a company that is specialized in this area.

One note of caution: Regardless of your web search or even a professional patent search it’s always possible that a similar invention is already in the planning stages somewhere.  Someone may even have filed for a patent on a similar notion.  But until the patent has been acted on by the patent office or published, it won’t show up in a search.  Unfortunately, neither of these possibilities can be eliminated as a potential risk.