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Why should you search for a patent?

The searching of patents and published patent application publications may be performed for a number of purposes, but there are two primary types of searches that are requested by inventors and businesses for their developments.

The most common type of patent-related search is the patentability search, which is intended to provide a preliminary indication of whether an invention is likely to be approved for patenting by the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office if a patent application is filed.Typically the search is limited to issued patents and published patent applications, but it can be extended to other types of publications and known products or processes as all of these things may be relied upon by a patent examiner as the basis to reject the claims of a patent application. The search results may be used to form a preliminary opinion of the invention’s patentability. Since a patent examiner is required to conduct a search when examining a patent application, there is no legal requirement for an inventor to request a patent search before filing a patent application.

Another type of patent-related search is a non-infringement or clearance search, which is not intended to determine if a development is patentable but instead whether the making, using, selling, importing, etc. of the development will infringe an unexpired patent. Generally this type of search is limited to patents that have issued in the most recent 20-year period, as that is approximately the longest possible term for a patent before it expires and infringement of the patent is no longer a concern.

For a list of patents issued to South Dakota inventors in August 2018, check out Jeff's column in the Argus Leader.

September 19, 2018