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At Law Offices of Kloss Stenger & LoTempio, our patent searches include:

  • A preliminary search of patent disclosures available at the PTO.
  • A search report with recommendations by a registered patent attorney.
  • Use of Internet and PTO resources to conduct the search.
  • Consultation with Patent Examiners, as needed, about the field of research.
  • Copies of patents deemed relevant to your invention.
  • Completion typically within 5-15 business days.

The objective of any preliminary patentability search is to discover issued “prior art” United States patents which are similar to the invention being investigated so that a judgment can be made as to the potential for obtaining patent protection. Basically, there are two (2) main types of patents (i.e., utility patents and design patents). When possible, a patentability search is directed to both utility and design features of an invention so that a determination can be made as to which type of patent protection may be available.

In attempting to reach a decision regarding the patentability of a new invention, it is initially necessary to compare the invention to other inventions that have already been patented, “prior art” patents. The typical procedure is to look for differences in (1) structure (or composition if a chemical invention), (2) function, and (3) overall appearance. Structural and functional differences are of important considerations in determining whether or not to pursue utility patent protection. A comparison of the overall appearance with respect to the prior patents is important if design patent protection is being considered.

If no single prior art patent discloses enough information to eliminate the possibility of obtaining either utility or design patent protection, it is still necessary to consider those situations in which the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office may attempt to “combine” the information shown in two or more patents to “build” the invention at issue. More specifically, where no single prior art patent discovered during a patentability search discloses the functional subject matter or appearance of an invention, a government patent examiner will frequently argue that someone with ordinary skill in the art is already in possession of the cumulative information and knowledge shown in two or more patents, and that person will then know how to combine the knowledge of these several prior art patents so as to make the searched invention “obvious” and therefore unpatentable.

In resolving the obviousness issue, the law requires that the invention was non-obvious to an individual with ordinary skill in the art at the time the invention was made. Thus, the law charges a hypothetical “skilled mechanic” with the knowledge of all of the pertinent prior art. The question, then, is whether the prior art references, considered individually or collectively, contain sufficient teaching, suggestion or motivation, such that the inventive subject matter would have been obvious to such person at the time the invention was made.