There’s no great shame in inventing something that turns out to already exist. Great minds think alike, as they say, and some of the greatest, most groundbreaking inventors in history owe their fame to the fact that they lived closer to the patent office than their competitors. Alexander Graham Bell, the man famous for inventing the first telephone, beat his competition to the patent office by nothing more than two hours.
Of course, not all invention patents turn on a matter of hours. It could be there’s a patent out there already that matches yours and either isn’t in use or is used to create a product you just haven’t heard of. So how can you avoid the unfortunate and expensive mistake of filing a patent that already exists? So, how can you tell if your invention already exists?
1. Intellectual Property Services Companies
How better to track down your competition than by hiring an expert? Patent Services such as InventHelp provide the added benefit of being able to help you through the entire process of obtaining a patent – from completing your paperwork to filing the applications and defending your patent in court if necessary. It is all explained in this “How to get a patent with InventHelp” article.
2. Visit USPTO.gov And Start Searching
The DIY approach is, as always, the cheapest, but it also carries the greatest risk of failure and if you mess up you’ll have no one to blame but yourself. The USPTO has a seven-step strategy to find patents that are most obviously relevant to your invention, but it’s only as useful as you make it.
Of course, the ultimate test regardless of the help you bring along is whether or not the patent office approves of your submission. There are millions of patents filed in the United States alone, and while the majority of them are expired, they are all still relevant since you can’t file a new patent based on an old invention. Not even the patent office has a record of 100 percent accuracy, so you shouldn’t beat yourself up if it turns out someone else reached the office before you did.
3. PTRC Staff
Throughout the United States are Patent and Trademark Resource Centers, special patent depositories which are attached to state, public, and university libraries. Experts at these libraries may charge a small fee, but they can be a great help when it comes to navigating the patent database and guiding you through the patent process. On the other hand, they can’t give you any legal advice nor offer any legal protection. Remember, you are on your own in this instance, or you can hire InventHelp patent attorney for consultation.
It is often said that it is best to hire an expert in any situation where you are uncertain, do not have the know-how, are hesitant or if there is an element of risk.