Can I Search?
Some inventors prefer to conduct a preliminary keyword search. The goal is to pre-screen ideas. If a quick search of the patent files establishes that the idea is old, the inventor can move on to other ideas or inventions and save valuable time and resources.
Many clients may use a broad web search, and supplement this by directly accessing the US Patent Office web site. There are a number of other excellent private patent search resources that individuals may use, but we advise that you use these other sites with caution, such as by carefully selecting search terms that do not reveal the essence of your invention. As of this writing, the only web site we are aware of that does not keep track of individual searches is the US Patent Office.
To be clear, the intent of this keyword search is a quick preview to see what you may find. This is not intended to be an exhaustive search. While keywords provide an excellent starting point, they are notoriously unreliable in the world of patents. Would you expect a ball-point pen to be called a "writing utensil", "marking tool", or, our favorite, an "ink dispenser"? If you tried to include all of the various words that might be used, you will have tens of thousands of patents to go through. With more than eight million patents granted just in the US, this is a daunting and enormously time-consuming task for most people. A complete and thorough search requires much more.
With our own proprietary database that includes a full and complete patent collections, this is one of our strengths at Quill & Disc. You can read more about how Quill & Disc conducts searches here.