Q: I want to do a patent search with a company. But it isn't throwing any results. Could you please help me?
Patent search help
A: A "patent search" has many shades of gray. At one end of the spectrum, an informal search can be done using keywords about an invention on various search engines or via government websites such as www.uspto.gov and https://worldwide.espacenet.com/. Or a patent attorney can conduct a more refined search using more formal search methodologies. Or, as your question seems to suggest, a search company can be hired and can search of everything from public websites to state, federal and international government databases.
So, some initial questions to consider might include whether you want a search that is limited to only U.S. patents and published patent applications, or do you want other government databases searched, too? Are you interested in non-government sources? Also, the type and scope of the search may differ depending on whether you are trying to determine if an invention is patentable, or whether there is "prior art" that might invalidate someone else's patent.
A: It is not clear what you have already tried. Here are some tips that I provided in a seminar to entrepreneurs on patent searching. http://bit.ly/Patent_Searching Perhaps something here will help you get an initial set of relevant patents or published applications. Once you have a few, then you can do forward and backward chaining to find some more. You will also be able to use some search classes should you choose to do so.
In the end, you may want a patent attorney to tee this up for a professional search firm to do a more extensive search. As already noted in other answers, there are options to trade off scope of search and costs. Frequently, it is a good start to do a comprehensive search of just US patents and US published applications but there are times when searching patent files of other countries makes sense.
Kevin E Flynn
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