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When to do a Patent Search?

Written by Gene Quinn
Patent Attorney & Founder of IPWatchdog
Widerman & Malek
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Posted: Sep 12, 2008 @ 9:42 am
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I have done a lot of research on the patent process and believe using the Invent & Patent System will be most helpful at this point.  Also at what point do I need to have a patent search done and what needs to be submitted for a search.


When to actually get a patent search done is a matter of choice.  Typically what we suggest is that inventors start by filing a provisional patent application.  You can either do a search before this filing or after the filing.  The search and patentability assessment costs ranges from $1,500 to $2,500, depending upon the technology involved, and to prepare and file a provisional patent the charge is likewise about $1,500 to $2,500.  So many will just decide to file a provisional patent application to get the ball rolling and obtain “patent pending” status and then on the road to filing a nonprovisional patent a search will be done.

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Doing a search first before any patent application is filed is a good idea.  By doing a search you will be able to determine whether it makes sense to move forward and what, if any, rights could be possibly obtained.  In an ideal world everyone would start with a search, file a provisional patent application and then within 12 months file a nonprovisional patent application.

The reason not everyone chooses this path is because the cost of a search is not insignificant given the cost of preparing and filing a provisional patent application.  Additionally, a primary benefit of a provisional patent application is to record your invention and get an early filing date.  Provisional patent applications are also quite helpful because you can obtain patent pending status quickly and cheaply – at least compared to the cost of a nonprovisional patent application.  With a provisional patent application you get the ability to wait up to 12 months to determine whether moving forward makes sense.  So you can lock in your rights and then see if your invention gains traction before a large expenditure.  For this reason many will choose to simply skip the search at the provisional stage and then if you decide to move forward then do the search.

We have a patent search questionnaire that we use to collect information regarding an invention.  We also have a patent application questionnaire that we use to collect information for the purpose of preparing a provisional patent or a nonprovisional patent application.

Once we know how you would like to begin the process we send you a representation agreement that outlines the services to be perfromed.  Once we have a signed representation agreement we will take payment via credit card, or you can send us a check via mail.  Once the funds have been received and have cleared you will be sent the appropriate questionnaire and our process begins.

If you would like to move forward let me know.  If you would like to speak with someone first please let me know and I will have my assistant contact you.

About the Author

is a US Patent Attorney, law professor and the founder of He is also a principal lecturer in the top patent bar review course in the nation, which helps aspiring patent attorneys and patent agents prepare themselves to pass the patent bar exam. Gene started the widely popular intellectual property website in 1999, and since that time the site has had many millions of unique visitors. Gene has been quoted in the Wall Street Journal, the New York Times, the LA Times, USA Today, CNN Money, NPR and various other newspapers and magazines worldwide. He represents individuals, small businesses and start-up corporations. As an electrical engineer with a computer engineering focus his specialty is electronic and computer devices, Internet applications, software and business methods.



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