The patent search is a keyword based process. If the wrong keywords are used then irrelevant references are found. Even if the right keywords are used, certain words have multiple references and will cause the search results to be populated with irrelevant references which may make finding the relevant references all the more difficult. Nonetheless, at this stage, the keyword list should be inclusive so that later during the process, irrelevant references may be filtered out.
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A patentability search is the first step in the process of obtaining a patent. It is a recommended step but not required under U.S. Patent laws. Intuitively, inventors generally understand that if someone else has already thought of the idea then the government will not grant a patent. One of the basic purposes of the patent search is to find references that show that someone else has already conceived of their invention.
Most inventors conduct an informal patentability search on their own. They may conduct a simple google search by typing in certain keywords relevant to their invention. Other inventors may extend their search to the U.S. Patent Office databases of patents and published applications.
The U.S. Patent Office publishes a Seven Step Strategy in conducting your own informal patent search on the USPTO databases. This informal patent search does not …