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China Patent Search

Update time:2016-01-26  source:

If you have an idea you want to protect, a Patent Search is your best first step. Before you spend any money on the idea with me, do your own patent search to determine the viability of an application for your invention.

You should do a personal patent search before hiring a patent attorney. The United States Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO) and the Chinese State Intellectual Property Office have agreed to make Chinese Patent information available through the USPTO website. 

This should make Chinese searches easier in the future.

Patents are granted to novel ideas. It feels awful if someone else came up with your idea before you did. But it would be worse if you also paid a lot of money only to find out that someone had beaten you to the punch.

The term used for evidence that someone has come up with your invention before you is “prior art.” Prior art might be a patent, a patent application, a product, or an article that embodies your invention. If you find prior art that is same as your invention, you should reconsider filing a patent application.

The first step in a do it yourself patent search is to think of key words that describe your invention. Determine the words you would use in a search if you wanted to buy your invention, rather than patent it.

After you have a set of key words, expand that set by thinking of alternate ways to describe the invention. Try to come up with several distinct sets of keywords.

After you have good keywords, you can begin searching. There are a number of sites that are both free and easy to use. Google Patents works just like Google, so there is almost no learning curve.

It allows you to search millions of US patents in a familiar format. The United States Patent and Trademark Office also has a free search site. It is more powerful, and a little harder to use, but you can master the fundamentals quickly.

Use one of these databases to do a search using your keyword sets. If you find prior art that is similar to your idea, a patent might not be a good idea. But before you abandon your invention, look carefully at the prior art.

There may be alternate ways of doing your invention or “choke points” that are critical to implementing your invention that you can protect, even if someone else also had the general idea.

This is often true where a general patent has never been turned into a product. The other inventor may not have had a complete solution, so that if your invention solves his problems, you still have a valuable idea.

If you don’t find prior art for your invention, patenting it may be very valuable. Call me to discuss your options.

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