How to Do a Patent Search

How to Do a Patent Search

A patent search is a fundamental part of the r&d process, but innovators don’t know where to begin. 

Anna on Thurs, Sep 24, 2020

If you are an independent inventor, it can be frustrating to conduct patent searches on your own.  You may feel like you’re not getting anywhere, or the process may seem complex. If you don’t know where to start, then you’ve come to the right place! A patent search is just what it sounds like – a search of issued patents and patent applications, which will be important to refer to when applying for your own patent, or in conducting general market research. By conducting a patent search and broader market research, you’ll be able to visualize your market, strategize your patent application, and make more informed decisions during your own research and development. 

Once you obtain a patent, it will provide you with legal protection for an established period so that others are barred from making, using, or selling your invention without your permission. The reality is there are different approaches to take as you conduct a patent search; hire an attorney to conduct the search for you, or perhaps you could use open software.t.  If you’re an inventor or entrepreneur, starting your own patent search will also be a crucial step to better understanding the competitive landscape of your industry. You will need to ensure your idea or invention is original before spending valuable time and money on it, so let’s jump into it. 

1. Brainstorm keywords that best describe your invention based on its design, purpose, and intended use. You can start this process by writing down a clear description of the invention and come up with synonyms, keywords, and technical terms to guide your search. 


2. Conduct forward and backward searching by finding patents and patent applications that are similar to yours. Look for patents that are similar to your own ideas and observe what they reference in the citations. This approach will help you figure out which keywords you should use. 

    • Use keywords on the USPTO Site Search to find Cooperative Patent Classification or “CPC” relevance. In the Site search box, enter the “CPC Scheme [plus keywords].” Once you find out which CPC classification is most relevant to your invention, you can narrow in on your search for specific patent documents. 
    • You can use Google Patents as another method of conducting your patent search. This is another free and easy patent database that will come in handy. It may also be more user-friendly or intuitive if you frequently use Google. When using “Simple Search,” you can type in a general search based on your keywords. If you’re conducting an “Advanced Search,” you can filter your search using the fields on the left-hand side of the screen. 
    • Use Cypris to conduct your patent search. Cypris is a patent marketplace and search engine that’s free and simple to use! You can find the patents you’re looking for by searching for the inventor’s name, patent number, or patent title. You can also search by category – there are over 160 categories ranging from medical to computer software to engineering. Once you find the patent(s) you’re looking for, you can view more details or even license the patent from its owner.


3. Search through U.S. patent documents. Once you’ve completed your search using USPTO, Google Patents, and/or Cypris, it’s time to dig a little deeper into the documents. Take note of the patents that are most similar and relevant to your invention. Continue the forward and backward searching by diving into these documents’ citations. 


4. Repeat the process! Now that you know what to do, do it again. This time, use only the keywords that yielded the most relevant search results. In order to dig deeper, you can begin to search non-US patents, patents developed by relevant inventors in your industry, and the citations of relevant documents. 


We know the inventor market research process isn’t always easy, but we hope you found this information useful as you begin your journey. If you’re still not having luck finding the relevant patent documents you need, you either came up with a million-dollar idea that doesn’t exist yet or you need to come up with some better, more descriptive keywords. Either way, we wish you the best of luck on your patent search!


About Cypris:

Cypris is a patent marketplace & IP intelligence search engine. Our mission is to see more innovations brought to life, by democratizing IP data & by creating an environment for sharing resources. On Cypris, innovators can get an insights report, to find companies, investors & patents matched with their technology. They can also leverage our categories page & open marketplace to find recent innovations & listing in their field. 

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