Introduction to Patents
Glossary of Patent Terms
Patent Related Links
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Patent SearchThere are several types of patent searches. The most common patent search is a "patentability" search, which is conducted to see if existing prior art, either for reasons of novelty or obviousness, would prevent a patent from being issued. If the search discovers prior art that would prevent obtaining a patent, then the inventor is spared the cost of applying for a patent. A patent search performed for this purpose is a bit like buying life insurance, you hope it doesn't work! Patent searches are best performed at the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office in Washington, D.C. (actually Alexandria, VA), but also can be accomplished on several available computer databases. The PTO divides all inventions into one of 400 classes and 25,000 subclasses, therefore searching is best performed by skilled experts.
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