If you came up with an interesting, useful idea and want to patent it, first of all: congratulations! This is a big thing and you should be proud of yourself. However, before you set out to celebrate the victory, we suggest that you take a step back and make sure that your invention is completely unique. The last thing you want is to start the patent application process and spend a lot of time and money, only to finally realize that someone has already patented the same or a similar idea. That is why it is of great importance that you thoroughly inquire and get an official confirmation that your invention is one of a kind and that you can patent it. In this article we discuss four ways you can check if your invention is unique.
What is a patent and what does it provide?
When you invent a product or idea, patent protection allows you to have the full right to create, use and sell that product or idea, which is guaranteed by law for a certain period of time. This means that you own complete intellectual property over the patent during that period and you can basically do whatever you want with it, without fear that someone will steal your idea.
Why is it important to first inquire whether your invention is unique?
Your first step, after you have invented a product or idea, must be to check whether that product or idea is already present on the market because someone before you came up with it. This is especially important because if you do not do the verification, you can go far into the patent application process, not knowing that you are doing it in vain. You will lose a lot of time, money and nerves, and in the end you will not be able to apply.
There is another case scenario, when the product or idea is not exactly the same as some already existing inventions, but overlaps at too many points and, due to too much similarity, it is not possible to apply for a patent. When you check the situation on the market in time, you will be able to make some small changes that will keep the essence of your invention, and yet distinguish it from existing patents. This step can make the difference between patenting an idea and great success and getting rejected because you didn’t make the right steps.
How to check if your invention is unique?
1. Do it yourself
Yes, you read that right. You can do your own research and conclude whether your invention is unique. Of course, this will not be the most reliable way (unless you have a great knowledge and experience about this matter), but it is certainly a good idea to do a preliminary search yourself and see what the market situation is like.
If you search everything and still can’t find any overlaps, we suggest you consult a professional who will conduct the process once again and give confirmation that your invention is unique or will find something that you are not, and that you should take care of.
2. Google keywords
Take the time to search for keywords that may be related to your patent. This is a physical job, but if you dedicate yourself enough, it can provide you with useful information. Make an effort to go deep into this area and search for all the topics and words that are related to your invention. Keep in mind that the whole process can take time, so keep a record of what you searched for, what you found, and what your next step should be.
3. Search USTPO
The United States Patent and Trademark Office’s official website offers you a huge database of patents containing patent applications and images. You just need to enter some of the words that can be related to your invention. If you succeed to enter the optimal description, you will get patents that are most similar to yours as a result and thus be able to conclude whether the invention already exists, or nothing similar has not yet appeared.
4. Check out Google Patents
Another very fast and efficient way to search for patents and make a preliminary confirmation that your invention is completely unique is to use Google Patents. This browser provides access to thousands of information that may be relevant to you in this process and allows you to begin the procedure in order to prove that there is no patent on the market that is similar to yours.
5. Find Patent and Trademark Depository Library
Patent and Trademark Depository Library is another place where you can search and find some of the information you need. You can find these libraries all across the country and ask their employees to help you look up for information about the patents that can help you understand whether your invention is really unique.
6. Seek professional help
If, despite all the searches you have conducted, you do not find any patented ideas that are similar to yours, it is a good choice to consult an expert, such as InventHelp. This is very useful because you will receive a final and official confirmation that you can start the patent application process. On the other hand, if you missed something, professionals in this field will point it out to you and with the help of their team you will be able to take the next steps towards patenting your idea, if possible.
If you came up with an idea or invented a product you want to patent, we suggest double-checking to see if your invention is truly unique. It is very important to make sure that your idea is not already patented, as well as that there is no similar product on the market. If you do not conduct this research in time, you can go far in the process of applying for a patent, only to realize that you cannot get it, because it already exists. Take all the necessary steps to be able to claim with certainty that your invention is unique and that you can patent it, and then enjoy all the benefits of owning intellectual property over your amazing invention.