Normally, the first step in the Patent – Trademark process is a Patent – Trademark Search done by a Professional Patent or Trademark Searcher. The main purpose of the Patent – Trademark Search is to determine whether the Invention or Trademark is new or not. If it is new, then you will probably want to proceed through the Patenting (Trademark) Process. However, if your Invention or Trademark is not new, you probably would not want to proceed because of the expense involved. The only way to find out whether your invention or trademark is new, is to do a Proper Patent – Trademark Search.
The search normally includes a search of U.S. patents at a minimum. However, searches can be tailored to the invention, and if a broader search of foreign inventions is needed, it can be done. Basic searches normally take 2-3 weeks and cost about $475.00. The price is a flat fee and includes all consultation, copies, search results, and, Mr. Williamson’s recommendation of whether to proceed. After Mr. Williamson reviews your Invention or Trademark, he can give you a cost estimate for the search.
Reasons for Doing a Professional Patent – Trademark Search.
There are several reasons for doing a proper, professional patent search (trademark search) on your idea for an invention. You may save money by doing a professional patent search on your invention. George Williamson urges his client to do a proper search as a means to save money because if the invention is not new, it is in your interest to find out early on to prevent spending money on an idea that has little chance of being successful. This can only be determined by doing a proper patent search because a good search will find the closest prior art which could potentially prevent you from obtaining a patent.
Remember, the USPTO Patent Examiner who examines your patent application is going to do a proper patent search and is almost certain to find the closest prior art to your invention. By doing a professional patent search up front, you will likely learn about the closest prior art to your invention before you spend a lot of money.
Also, a good search may provide you with insight into the design and workings of the prior art which may help you to change or modify the details of your invention so as to allow you to design around the already patented prior art which may very well allow you to obtain a patent which you may not have otherwise obtained, or, to allow you to change your invention to make it a better invention or product than it otherwise would have been. This is perfectly legal and the U.S. Supreme has stated, in substance, that designing around a patent should be encouraged and is beneficial to the market place.
The most common ground of rejection used by the USPTO is obviousness. A proper search will give you the best chance of obtaining information which will allow an experienced patent attorney such as George Williamson to emphasize the aspects of your invention which will give you the best chance of overcoming a USPTO rejection based on obviousness.
Finally, much to the chagrin of some inventors, Mr. Williamson has found that inventors do not generally make good patent searchers. George Williamson believes that a proper patent search can usually only be done by a professional patent searcher, and, that considering the relatively small cost, a proper patent search is an excellent investment.
(Note, while this has been written with regard to patents, similar logic can be used with respect to trademark searches.)