steps to search patent

How to do a Patent Search in 6 Steps


In the dynamic landscape of innovation and invention, conducting a comprehensive patent search is a crucial step towards safeguarding your intellectual property and ensuring your ideas are truly novel. A patent search involves scouring through existing patents and publications to determine if your invention is unique and eligible for patent protection. To guide you through this intricate process, here are six essential steps to perform an effective patent search.

Step 1: Define Your Invention

Before delving into the world of patent databases, it’s imperative to have a clear and precise understanding of your invention. Break down your invention into its core components and identify the unique aspects that set it apart from existing solutions. This step will serve as the foundation of your patent search, helping you to formulate effective search queries.

Step 2: Choose the Right Databases

To begin your search, you’ll need to explore the vast realm of patent databases. Notable options include the United States Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO), the European Patent Office (EPO), the World Intellectual Property Organization (WIPO), and Google Patents. Each database offers its own unique features and search capabilities, so consider your invention’s geographic scope and technical domain to select the most suitable databases.

Step 3: Utilize Keywords and Classification

Crafting precise search queries is pivotal for retrieving relevant results. Identify keywords that encapsulate the core concepts of your invention and use them strategically. Additionally, patents are often categorized based on the International Patent Classification (IPC) system. Leverage this classification to refine your search and locate patents that are closely related to your invention’s field.

Step 4: Analyze Search Results

As your search yields results, it’s time to dive into the details. Study the patents that closely match your invention and analyze their descriptions, claims, and diagrams. This process will not only help you understand the existing landscape but also refine your understanding of what differentiates your invention from the prior art.

Step 5: Consider Different Perspectives

Innovation often occurs at the intersection of various fields. While your invention might belong to a specific domain, its underlying principles might find applications in other industries. Cast a wider net by exploring related fields to ensure that no potential prior art is overlooked. This cross-disciplinary approach can provide invaluable insights into the uniqueness of your invention.

Step 6: Consult a Professional

While navigating the intricacies of patent databases can be a rewarding endeavor, it’s advisable to seek guidance from a professional patent attorney or agent. These experts have an in-depth understanding of patent law and can offer nuanced insights that might elude a novice. Their experience can prove invaluable in interpreting the results of your patent search and assessing the patentability of your invention.


Conducting a patent search is a vital step in the journey of turning your innovative idea into a protected intellectual property asset. By following these six steps – defining your invention, selecting the right databases, crafting effective search queries, analyzing results, considering diverse perspectives, and seeking expert advice – you’ll be well-equipped to ascertain the uniqueness of your invention and proceed with confidence in the patent application process. Remember, thoroughness and attention to detail are key to mastering the art of patent searching.


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