The USPTO Patent Full-Text and Image Database is a good first step in researching patents.
Patent attorneys can be costly. Why pay money to conduct a search and find that your idea is already taken? Do a first screen yourself! Using the free online database you can start a basic search. If you don’t find that your idea is already patented, you can proceed more confidently with your money to hire a patent attorney. This tool of the month saves two key assets: time and money.
The database allows you to put key words into two fields: marked as “Term 1” and “Term 2.” Use words that describe the actual invention, how it is used, the mechanisms, or structures involved. There is also an option to specify the fields in which the term will be searched if you already know what field specifically the patent can be found in. Other helpful features make the quick search helpful and efficient.
If you already have a patent but do not know what to do with it, there are companies that can help. Several companies exist specializing in the buying and selling of patents, including Intellectual Ventures and Ocean Tomo. These companies open a channel that connects buyers, sellers, and inventors.
Article by Timothy Worrell, Economic Development Intern.