Why Free Online Patent Research Could End Up Costing You Thousands

Rich Goldstein

Founder & Principal Patent Attorney
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Are you trying to figure out if your invention can be patented on your own, by doing online research? If you are, you’re not alone. Most people go online when they want to know if their project is patentable.

Going online to do research is a wise step to take initially. Visiting the USPTO’s website, or even searching on google is a great place to start.

But, there are major pitfalls involved with relying on your do-it-yourself online research. The purpose of this article is to explain what some of those pitfalls are, so that you don’t fall into them yourself!

Pitfall #1

Stopping before you start: Incorrectly assuming or interpreting the significance of other US patents, and their impact on the patentability of your invention may push you to slam down the brakes on your project…when it’s really not necessary to do so!

If you put a halt on your project because you believe that you have found a patent that says you can’t proceed, and you are wrong in that assumption, you could be losing out on thousands, tens of thousands, or even hundreds of thousands of dollars in profits, from your invention.

Pitfall #2

Investing Time and Money in a Patent Application That’s Going Nowhere: Incorrectly identifying the implications of those already-existing patents can also lead you to continue full steam ahead with a project that was actually doomed from the start. When you pursue a patent based on poor or faulty research, you may waste a great deal of time and money unnecessarily.

It is frustrating to spend money on a patent application when the patent was never available to you. It is even more costly (and aggravating) to let this mistake prevent you from pursuing your invention and possibly profiting immensely.

I get calls regularly from people who have been discouraged from pursuing their product because they think they saw another product like theirs, or a “friend” tells them they saw “the same” invention somewhere.

Often, when I take a closer look with a trained eye, I can see that there are significant differences between the two products or ideas. I can see significant differences, whereas they see only the similarities.

In these cases, if they had not called me they might have never taken action on what might be a life-changing opportunity. When it comes to figuring out what facets of a project can be patented, most individuals do not see the full picture.

It’s like looking at your own X-rays, versus hiring a trained medical professional to look for them. You wouldn’t do that, yet so many people do the exact same thing when it comes to patents! They might miss the opportunity to protect an aspect of their product or concept that may be extremely valuable.

This is not their fault. First of all, it takes years of experience to thoroughly understand how the patent system works. And the truth is, the best place to search for patents is not on the Internet – regardless of who is doing the searching.In fact, I never rely on an online search to give an opinion of patentability for one of my clients.

Here’s the Problem

Keyword based searching – which is the way you would search online (picking words and searching them), does not give reliable results for patents. This is because patents can be written using a wide variety of terminology for the same object.

Sometimes the words used in already existing patents to describe the precise same components that your invention includes, can use completely unexpected terminology! If you are searching for “can opener handle”, when someone patented that same thing, they might have called it a “handgrip”, a “lever”, an “actuating arm”, or who knows what else?

The bottom line is, the same invention might exist and have already be patented, and you might never find it this way! In this way, an online search can lead you to believe that your invention is new, and lead you to spend thousands pursuing it, when proper research would have told you not to pursue it!

Clearly then, doing the right research to fully understanding what aspects of your project warrant legal protection is essential. I understand how difficult this process can be.

I am here to assure you that you don’t have to do this alone–especially when you are not equipped with the proper tools and experience necessary to reliably or accurately determine patentability.

This is why it is important to have an evaluation conducted by an expert. I have seen thousands of cases, and know what types of patented inventions pose a threat to your own chances for getting a patent.

I also know how to see important differences between your invention and others when many people only see similarities.

If you want to avoid investing unnecessary money as well as make sure you don’t lose out on the potential for significant financial gain, then call us now at (718) 701-0700 to discuss getting a Patent Evaluation started.

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