A little more about search

A good search prepares you for success by eliminating many of the unknowns from the patenting process.

A search should be your first step as you consider protecting your invention. A good search prepares you for success by eliminating many of the unknowns from the patenting process. A prior art reference can be any document (not just patent documents) published in any language, anywhere. Prior art discovered late in the process can cause unnecessary application amendments or even prevent a patent from being allowed. For this reason, Nelson Patent Law typically recommends searching for your invention early in the process.

Our search services

Nelson Patent Law helps our clients by searching for published documents that may closely relate to their inventions. We search in several databases, including our own natural language processing (NLP) database. Our process starts with an informal claim defining the invention's scope. We refine the scope as we search and check back with the client if the scope becomes narrow. Our goal is to provide a few very relevant references (rather than hundreds of less-relevant documents). Ultimately, our clients decide whether the surviving scope would bring value to their business. Because the target scope is informed by searching, we revisit the question of patentability with each client after their search is complete. Request a free initial consultation.

Independent searching

As you begin thinking about patenting, it often makes sense to do some searching on your own as well. Inventor-directed searches can provide a sense for what others might be doing in the technical area of your invention. Finding your invention (or something very close) can be both disappointing and validating. In any case, a search can prepare the inventor to explain the invention and its novelty to a patent professional.

There are a variety of resources available to help you find documents that might relate to your invention. The United States Patent and Trademark Office provides several searchable patent databases. Another popular free option is Google Patents, which can be used to perform queries of publications in many countries and languages using a familiar interface.

NLP document exploration

Nelson Patent Law also makes its own NLP database available for inventors to explore. This database contains over 6.4 million patent application publications and uses artificial intelligence (AI) techniques to locate documents that contain content similar to that of submitted invention description text (up to 10,000 words). Exploring patent publications in this way may have benefits over traditional keyword and boolean searching in some cases where invention details are readily available. Our exploration interface is simple (requires no keywords) and is very fast. And, while a 30-minute self-directed exploration session with our interface is not free, it may cost less than you expect. Learn more and start exploring.


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For questions about our services, to schedule a free initial consultation or to contact us for any other reason, you can send us an email or call us. (951) 465-5321

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