Read this tip to make your life smarter, better, faster and wiser. LifeTips is the place to go when you need to know about Searching US Patents and other Invention topics.
In late 2006, Google released a new way for users to discover and find new patent information relevant to their own patent filings or those of their competitors. Those patents granted by the US Patent and Trademark Office can be located by using inventor names, filing dates, issued patent numbers or key words. Many people may use the service just for fun but patent databases like this may also help you if you are in the process of conducting your own patent search to find out if your new idea is patentable.
However, it's important to realize that using such a system may not uncover all the information necessary. When you decide to conduct a US patent search, you should investigate all the ways it's possible first, then decide which avenues are best for you. Since patent searches are so complicated and cover such a vast amount of information, many people employ the services of a patent attorney or patent agent. The advantage of hiring someone like this is that he or she is skilled in how to search, should be familiar with all the newer ways to search (including their benefits and possible drawbacks), and can sit down with you to formulate a search strategy. Never rely on just one type of patent searching; it's too easy to miss relevant information.