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Although it is recommended that a professional such as a patent lawyer or patent agent conduct a formal patent search for your new invention, it is a wise idea to conduct your own preliminary patent search using the online database at the US patent And Trade Office web site.
In addition to this being a free patent search, the advantages of conducting your own preliminary search are:
- You will familiarize yourself with the patent process.
- You will learn about product categories and sub-categories, and about how to present patent materials.
- You might find patents of products in your field or industry, giving you competitive information
- You might just find another product like yours, eliminating the need for a more costly, formal search.
Just remember that the online database at the USPTO only goes back as far as 1975, so it would never be a compete search.