How can I find out if my invention has already been invented?

This question may get asked when,

Researchers, before investing their time and money, would want to know, if it’s worthwhile to research on a product.  They would want to find out, what kind of similar products exists in the market and what technological improvements can be made to those products.

For any new technological improvements/inventions, inventors may want to patent their invention. Before starting the process of patenting, inventors would want to access their chances of patentability of the invention. In order to access the patentability of an invention, a search to identify prior art is required.

When a product is to be launched into the market, to avoid infringement, it is advisable to determine freedom to operate for the product in question. In order to determine Freedom to operate, a search of patent documents of the jurisdiction in question is to be conducted. To know more about freedom to operate, you can go through our article about Freedom to Operate

Different strategies can be adopted to determine the answers to the above scenarios:

A search for prior art can be conducted on the internet using search engines. This strategy may uncover some data, but will not always uncover  very relevant data. This is owing to the fact that patent documents and publications may not have been indexed in search engines. Search strategies involved in searching of relevant patent and non patent data requires considerable skill and technique. To know more about search strategies and techniques to be adopted, you can read our article How to conduct a patent search

Another strategy to be adopted is to Search for non patent literature. Searching of non patent literature can aid in finding out if a similar invention exists. Searching of non patent literature be conducted using databases such as  IEEE, Science Direct, IPmenu which hold enormous amount of data relating to non patent literature. Searching of such non patent literature data can uncover similar technology and would help in taking an informed decision regarding the invention. If a similar technology exists in non patent literature, it will affect the patentability of the invention, but it will have no bearing on the freedom to operate for a product, as non patent literature does not provide rights to the owner of that publication from stopping others from making and selling of those products.Note that if a publication about an invention exists in non patent literature, it does not mean that the owners would not have sought patent protection as well. It is advisable to cross check patent data as well before taking a decision about Freedom to operate.

 Another strategy to be adopted is to search patent literature. Searching of patent literature can be conducted using various free and paid patent databases. It is important to know a few facts about patents.

Patents are jurisdiction specific. It means that to obtain patent protection, one has to file for patents in all the jurisdictions one wishes to obtain protection. 

While determining freedom to operate for a specific country, only patent documents from that jurisdiction are to be considered. 

To determine the patentability of an invention, one needs to consider relevant patent documents from all jurisdictions.

I hope you find this article helpful. Check our  patent services page to find out if we can cater to your patent requirements. Also feel free to contact us or ask us a question and have it answered within 24 hours.
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2 Responses to How can I find out if my invention has already been invented?

  1. Dear INventree,

    The information that you have provided was y helpful. Thank you.

    In addition, I will apreciate if you could help me to clarify the following.

    -How can one seach if an invention that he/she wishes to patent, has been applied by another person, but is on the process with the issuing authority.

    Thank you,





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