Curious about patent searches

Be aware! Bad news is coming! Patent searches are hugely misunderstood (and often over-valued)

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Lets get the bad news out right away. Doing a patent search has value, but not for the reasons you likely think. This is an area that inventors are consistently mistaken.

First, any search performed by an inventor usually means absolutely nothing to the patent Examiner, who will do his/her own search. This will likely be a much better search. As a former Examiner I sometimes do searches for clients, but am always careful to educate my client that it doesn't matter what we find or don't find.

The job of a patent Examiner is, among other things, to guard the US Patent System from Allowance that should not have happened. This protects the integrity of the US patent system. But it also means that all applicants should plan to be Rejected on their First, Second, and usually Third Office Actions (documents from the patent Examiner).  This means it will be years before anyone gets a patent, and only after a lot of rejection and expense.

I have been practicing patent law for >22 years. I often act as an inventor's "second patent attorney" because their first patent attorney charged too much, and did not properly communicate how the patent system really works. And then the inventor fired that law firm, and went looking for someone else to clean up the mess. That someone else is often this law firm.

One of the biggest cons we see is attorneys selling an innocent, naive inventor a $2000 patent search. They convince the inventor that their chances of getting a patent are relatively high, based on this search.

What these attorneys don't properly communicate is that the chances of getting a patent are directly proportional to length and depth of disclosure. That means the patent disclosure should have at least 20 pages of text-Description and at least 15 pages of Drawings.

Inventors: always make your patent disclosures long, with a lot of depth. Lots of drawings and text. 

This is the single biggest indicator, by far, as to whether someone will get a patent or not. Not a Patent Search that you performed yourself! Those don't mean anything to the Patent Office!

This is one of the single biggest myths and canards in the entire patent/invention industry, and we see this much more than other problems and disappointments.

Even if the search had favorable results, if the attorney wrote the disclosure to be too brief, not enough embodiments, not enough variations, not enough drawings, not enough pages, these inventors often don't get a patent. Despite the favorable search results, many inventors do not get a patent! And they are upset!

Next, be aware, patent Examiners do not just search patents for their Prior Art Rejections, but also search YouTube, Amazon, Kickstarter, eBay, Instagram, and many other non-patent resources. These can yield an immense amount of useful information and Prior Art.  

With the area of Mobile App inventions (tens of thousands of Mobile Apps have patent protection), an inventor can plan on the patent Examiner researching and asserting other Mobile Apps found in either iTunes, Google Play, or other Mobile App repositories.

Do your own patent search! Don't pay anyone!

We are not against patent searching. We are against misinterpreting the results of any patent search. 

We operate by some simple rules in this area.

1) Do your own patent search!  Don't pay anyone!

2) Use the patents you find as templates an guides on how to set up your own patent disclosure. The best way to learn patent drafting is to read Issued patents!  And that is good for any inventor to know!

3) Do not assume that the patent search you perform indicates any useful information about a) whether you will get a patent, and/or b) whether your invention will commercialize or not.  Patent searches have nothing to do with either of these!

Search Patents at the US Patent Office