US Patent Searches

By Max Bellamy

The organization responsible for awarding patents within the United States is the United States Patent and Trademark Office or the USPTO. The USPTO has given 2.6 million patents within the country since 1975. Patents in the US are broadly divided into three categories -- utility, design and plant. The highest number of patents belongs to the utility category.

Patents in the US are time-bound; i.e. they are valid up to a certain period of time. This means that a person obtaining the patent can make full and sole use of the idea for commercial gains. In the US, the patent viability is 20 years from the application or 17 years from the patent granting, whichever is longer. However, prior to applying for a patent, it is extremely necessary to conduct a search for the patent to make sure that it has not been granted earlier.

The USPTO strives to make its patents highly accessible to all people. Its website is open to the general public. It contains a list of given patents. USPTO also publishes a weekly official gazette that contains information on patents given within the week. There is a CD-ROM titled “Cassis,” (Classification and Search Support Information System) It is a set of three Cds containing bibliographic information on patents.

The USPTO site contains a free search engine, where patents are classified according to their categories. A preliminary search reveals whether a patent has already been given to the concept or not. This also reduces the workload of the USPTO, as they do not have to weed out unnecessary applications.

Patent attorneys in the US undertake the task of patent registration once they ascertain that the concept is indeed novel. It is the job of the patent attorney to guide the client on how to bring about modifications in order to get a patent. Patent searches done by attorneys can be basic or comprehensive. A basic search involves searching within the database of the USPTO. A comprehensive searches pending applications as well. Patent attorneys charge up to $500 for a basic patent search, and up to $1000 for a comprehensive search. There can also be comprehensive patent searches that include foreign countries. International patent searches are quite expensive and may cost up to $20,000.

Patent Search provides detailed information on Patent Search, US Patent Searches, Free Patent Searches, European Patent Searches and more. Patent Search is affiliated with Online Trademark Searches.

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