US Patent Information
An inventor can start his or her own Patent Search by accessing the US patent information database at http://www.uspto.gov/patft/index.html. The U.S.P.T.O. US patent information database may be the most popular means of search that can be used by a layperson. The US patent information database only contains "keyword" searchable patent data from 1975 forward. A US patent information database, publications and journals is also an important step to assure the patentability of the invention. Inventors can make a search of patents already granted in text books, journals and other publications to be sure that someone else has not already invented their idea. They may hire someone to do it for them or may do the search on the US patent information at the Public Search Room of the US Patents and Trademark Office in Arlington, Virginia, on the PTO web page on the Internet, or at one of the US Patents and Trademark Depository Libraries across the country.
US patent information says that patent can be obtained on "inventions". Inventions include any new and useful machine, process, article of manufacture, composition of matter (such as a new chemical composition), and improvements on any of these things. US patent information also shows that there are three types of patents granted by the U.S. Patent Office: utility patents, design patents and plant patents.
US patent information also reveals that patent does not apply to the following: copyright, trademarks, abstract ideas, pure mathematical manipulations of numbers and laws or products of nature. Patent is not award to pure ideas or suggestions alone. There has to be a workable invention for it to be accepted. Computer software was originally considered not patentable. However, in recent years, US patent information has changed making software inventions patentable.
One must research and keep in mind some important patent information before filing for a patent application. Important patent information is that patent application can be filed without conducting a patent analysis and search. But it is important to discover potential similar patents before filing a patent application. Possible problems that might crop up in the future can be altogether avoided by reviewing US patent information on similar patents and patent applications beforehand. Patent invalidity does not automatically happen if there are patents similar to the invention; however it is difficult to obtain a patent if there are identical patents to their invention. According to statistics, the US patent information reveals that patent applications often fail first time around. And this happens 80% of the time.