PATENT, TRADEMARK, AND COPYRIGHT SEARCH
1. Patent Search
Before investing valuable time in a patent search, you should determine your invention's novelty. Once you have jumped this hurdle, it is time to begin your search. A Foreign patent search can be done from the websites of most Patent Offices. Always begin your search using key words. If you do not find your invention, write down the class numbers and subclass numbers of the patents that you would consider to be prior art. Then search all of the class/subclass numbers in your list.
2. Trademark Search
3. Copyright Search
If you found your exact invention or trademark, your search is finished and so are the chances for patent or trademark protection. However, you may find several patents that are very similar to your invention. This is not a bad thing. Sometimes only an ever so slight change can make way for a new invention. Just do a search for a semi-conductor to see what I mean. You may also apply for a patent which improves upon a prior invention, and perhaps even work out a cross-licence agreement with that patent holder. Please consult a patent attorney in this matter. The search engines above only contain information for the past twenty years. Some inventions or trademarks may require a more extensive search. This can be done at your local patent depository library. The librarians are not permitted to perform a search for you, nor can they offer any advise regarding your search results. They do however have extensive knowledge in patent searching and can be very helpful, so be nice.
If you do not find your exact invention, we suggest that you have a COMPLETE patent search done. You should hire a professional searcher to perform this service for you. We recommend: