What patent searches can I do before talking to an attorney
January 13, 2014 7:36 AM   Subscribe

I have an interesting idea. I suspect somebody has had this idea before. Beyond simply googling the product to see if it exists, what kind of research can/should a lay person do on their own before approaching a patent attorney?
posted by willnot to Law & Government (6 answers total) 3 users marked this as a favorite
You can search patents using google scholar.
posted by rockindata at 7:50 AM on January 13, 2014

Google have a specific search engine for patents at http://www.google.com/patents‎ -- it might be worth trying a handful of relevant searches there and see if you find anything relevant. Of course, all the patents will be written in legalese.
posted by richb at 7:51 AM on January 13, 2014

The USPTO website has some search features.
posted by paper chromatographologist at 7:52 AM on January 13, 2014

Google itself has a specialized search for the US patent database. Once you find a related patent, you have an option to have Google look for prior art across the web, other patents, books, and Google Scholar materials. I've found it pretty useful as a rough first cut when doing prior art searches (and have even found decent prior art that wasn't uncovered by a search firm).
posted by monju_bosatsu at 7:53 AM on January 13, 2014

Patent attorneys pretty much have a lock on the thing, though, because they've collectively made sure that every patent any of them have ever written is completely fucking unreadable. Even if fifty other people had already been granted patents for your idea and you had all fifty of those patents on your desk right now, the chance of you actually recognizing your idea in any of them is close to nil.

Or in other words: what is claimed is a multiplicity of obfuscatory means coupled to any of a multiplicity of information storage means, including but not limited to those involving pulping means operated in conjunction with a multiplicity of bleaching drying rolling separating stacking and marking means (see figure 3) or mechanical or electronic or chemical apparatus for the representation of arbitrary marks in digitally encoded or visible or audible or tactile form (see figure 15 for the preferred embodiment) or any other form of storage and/or reproduction and/or other apparatus selected and organized in a particular manner so as to achieve sufficient enhancement of the scope of all matters described referenced alluded to suggested or tangential or irrelevant in such a manner as to render comprehensibility minimal and innovation moot (see figures 17 and 4).
posted by flabdablet at 8:50 AM on January 13, 2014 [6 favorites]

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