Patent search opinions

No matter what stage you are at in the patent filing process, the law firm of Wessels & Arsenault can provide patentability and other search services to help ensure that your investments are well protected.  Inventors and businesses can save thousands of dollars by initiating an affordable patent search from a qualified patent attorney prior to filing.  The patent prosecution process can be an expensive and time-consuming burden spent communicating back and forth with the United States Patent Office (USPTO) over the span of several years.  Additionally, if you are considering licensing technology, you can improve your negotiation position by assessing the likelihood that the technology could be invalidated by prior art.  Entering a licensing negotiation with solid information can make the difference between a reasonably priced license and expensive license terms.

Pre-filing “State of the art” searches

If you are an inventor or business seeking to innovate a concept that you haven’t developed fully and are unfamiliar with the industry or field that you want to enter, then you might request a general search into the “state of the art.”  Our “state of the art” searches are performed by licensed patent attorneys or agents, and provide you a general overview into recently published patents and pending applications specific to the relevant field of inquiry.  A “state of the art” search can help you determine whether you should make an investment into a promising technology or whether you should stay away.

International v. Domestic patent searches

Although the USPTO maintains a database of several million patents and patent applications, it isn’t the only major repository for patent documents.  Patent offices around the world grant foreign patents which could be used to invalidate or anticipate your patent application.  The European Patent Office (EPO), Japanese Patent Office (JPO), and Patent Cooperation Treaty (PCT) databases also contain millions of patents and patent applications that could be used as prior art against your patent application.

For the most comprehensive patent search services, we recommend an international patent search that includes the abovementioned patent offices and other foreign offices.  The law firm of Wessels & Arsenault also offers a more affordable domestic patent search service limited to the U.S.P.T.O. database of over seven million granted patents and patent applications.

Novelty and Patentability searches

Novelty searches address the patentability requirement that an invention be novel before a patent can be issued.  Our lawyers can help you identify whether your invention will be seen as “new” to the USPTO in light of the prior art.  At a minimum, we recommend novelty searches before pursuing patent protection on your invention.

A more comprehensive option for patent protection is a patentability search.  A patentability search includes a novelty inquiry, but also opines whether the invention is non-obvious in light of a combination of inventions in the prior art.  The patentability search will cover more information and assess your chances of patentability better than a novelty search.  Our law firm can perform both novelty and patentability searches for your invention.  We can discuss your specific needs by contacting us.

Post-issuance patent searches

Freedom-to-use searches – Freedom-to-use or freedom-to-operate searches are common inquiries from businesses or individuals assessing whether their product or process infringes a pre-existing patent.  If you have a process under trade secret and want to inquire into what is already patented and whether the trade secret infringes, then you may wish to contact our law firm for an affordable freedom to use search.

Patent Validity or Invalidity Searches – Validity searches involve review of the prior art to attempt to validate or invalidate an existing patent.  Questionable patents are often reexamined, and it may be in the interest of a competitor to locate prior art that might invalidate an already granted patent.  If you are concerned about infringing another’s patent or if you want to strengthen the validity of your patent via reexamination, a validity search can help.  Rather than avoid costly infringement litigation expenses, it may be less expensive to invalidate a patent that your invention may be infringing. Our intellectual property team is prepared to help.


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