You have an idea for a product or service, but what’s next? Should you conduct a patent search? When is the best time to do so? The bottom line typically is, start your patent search early on in order to save precious resources later.
At the very beginning, an idea is just that: a concept. When someone has an idea for an invention, they can do their own preliminary search to understand existing art, but hiring a professional to do a thorough patent search is necessary in order for you to truly understand whether your idea has the novelty needed to be approved for a patent. Here are two factors that can cause problems if a patent search is not conducted early on in the patent application process.
1: The Patent Process Can Become Expensive
A patent search comes with its own costs, true. However, these costs are incidental when compared with the rates associated with help from a patent lawyer or agent. In addition, filing fees, maintenance fees, and ongoing legal aid will make the cost of a patent search look entirely insignificant. The patent process in its entirety can run into the tens of thousands of dollars.
Inventing is not a get rich quick scheme, although many beginning inventors hope that it will be. In fact, many inventors find that developing and patenting an invention costs more than it makes. According to Stephen Key in a contributor blog post for Forbes.com, who is the owner of 20 patents, including the Michael Jordan Wall Ball, which sold over one million in its first year, “Few patented inventions recoup the cost of filing and maintaining patent protection. There isn’t a single definitive figure. But it’s safe to say probably fewer than 10% do.”
Will your patent be worth the cost? A patent search can help you forecast what to expect, both from anticipated expenses, and from the return on your investment.
2: Someone Else May Have Prior Art on Your Idea
Many inventors think their idea is original, but often there is a similar patent that exists. According to Gene Quinn, a U.S. Patent Attorney, editor and primary author of IPWatchdog.com, “...it would be extremely rare (if not completely impossible) for there to be an invention that does not have any prior art.” A prior art search enables patent professionals to determine if the idea is unique. In many cases, a patent could be filed and accepted, but for various reasons, the product never made it to market. In this circumstance, you wouldn’t know about the patent’s existence until you conducted a patent search. Knowing what is already out there before you go full steam ahead with your idea can save you significant time and effort, allowing you to identify holes in the market where your innovation and development will be the most profitable.
Contact Us to Learn More About Early Patent Search
Global Patent Solutions can help you conduct a patent search to make sure your idea is valid. Our talented team of research analysts has a combined 1600 years of industry experience. To conduct a patent search for your idea with a team of reputable patent professionals today, contact Global Patent Solutions.