The patent search is a tool which, when properly used, can save an inventor thousands of dollars and several months of time.
While one obvious purpose of the search is to determine whether an invention is new or not, a more important and often overlooked purpose is to determine the breadth of patent claims we can reasonably anticipate to be found allowable. If the claims are likely to be found allowable and are broad enough to provide an inventor with a business advantage, then I recommend that patent protection be sought. Thus, proper claim drafting depends on a good search. Without knowing what is in the prior art, one's claims cannot be written to avoid rejections based on the prior art and the Applicant is nearly guaranteed of having their application rejected, thus necessitating an amendment, further waiting, and increased costs.
In the land of Festo, its best to avoid making any claim amendments at all.
Many patent professionals "farm out" patent search work to other persons whose only job function is to do patent searches. While this is good from the standpoint of the farmer outer getting to up-charge the job as much as he can, the person who writes the patent application is thus not directly involved in the searching of the prior art. He trusts the searcher to have done a good job, and then bases all of the subsequent work on this. If the searcher didn't appreciate certain aspects of the invention, for whatever reason, then the quality and usefulness of any and all subsequent work (including the client's money) may be in peril. This is fairly common, in my observation.
A good search will run about $ 800 on the bottom end for a US only search on many technologies, and about $ 2000 for a combined US/European search. The high end is about $ 2400 for a US Search through a law firm and can be around $ 4000 for the combined US/European. I had a client in 1995 who told me that he paid $ 5800 to a law firm in Michigan and all he got for his money was a US only patentability search ! Don't overpay, but don't underpay. Consider what John Ruskin (1819 - 1900) said:
"It is unwise to pay too much, but it is worse to pay too little. When you pay too much, you lose a little money - that is all. When you pay too little, you sometimes lose everything because the thing you bought was incapable of doing the thing it was bought to do. The common law of business balance prohibits paying a little and getting a lot - it cannot be done. If you deal with the lowest bidder, it is well to add something for the risk you run, and if you do that you will have enough to pay for something better."
I'd be cautious about people offering searches for anything less than $ 500.
When you use us, you don't just get a search. You also get our candid, experienced opinion about your invention. Sometimes you might not like what I have to say, but my goal isn't to sooth everyone, I tell it as I see it. You get a written Search Report, including copies of relevant Prior Art Patents. You get a fast turn around time. We also provide a detailed cost and time breakdown of what you should expect to pay to obtain a patent on the invention, whomever you choose to employ to help you. I guarantee to deliver you value.
I should stress that at one point in time I only failed once in over 10 years to obtain a patent on an invention for which I performed the search and wrote the application, my success rate was over 95% based on applications filed. There were plenty of people along the way I had to tell that their invention wasn't patentable based on prior art identified during a search. But chances are pretty good that if I conclude your invention is patentable, then it probably is.
Although committed professionals, we tend to deal in a somewhat casual and friendly format. You won't be "just another number". My goals are: 1) to get you a valid patent quickly at the lowest price consistent with high quality; and 2) to point you towards bona fide resources for selling or commercializing your invention as quickly as possible.
Here are some links which some savvy inventors may find helpful for preliminary searching. Let me know if any of these are dead links, and I'll fix them pronto ! Have fun !
REFERENCES AVAILABLE UPON REQUEST
Thank you for visiting.
Christopher J. Whewell
Registered Patent Agent
call me at (512) 763-1142
Important Notice: Use of this website will not establish an attorney-client, agent-client, or other commercial relationship, and such a relationship will only exist if and after an engagement letter has been signed. No representations or warranties are made with respect to any of the information contained within this website, and particularly in reference to its accuracy or suitability for any purpose. The material contained within this website and its links is for general information purposes only, and shall not be construed as legal advice; nor should it be relied upon in place of seeking legal advice relative to your individual situation from a qualified Patent Practitioner or Counsel. Since the law is always evolving, the information contained within this website may not always be current with the most recent changes.
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