The number of ideas and inventions a single human being can create is limitless. That said, countless ideas have already been created and formally patented with the U.S. Patent Office. No matter how "original" you feel your creation is — and you may have indeed come up with it all by yourself — if your idea has already been patented by someone else, you may be out of luck in terms of profiting from your creation. For this reason, before you apply for a formal patent, you'll need to do some research.
When it comes to researching your prospective patent, the internet is an extremely valuable resource. The U.S. Patent Office offers valuable tools to inventors that allow them to research published patents for any with which their idea conflicts. In addition, you might benefit from looking at existing patents which could help you improve on your own idea without infringing on an already-existing patent. In addition to the U.S. Patent Office website, Google offers a valuable patent search tool of inventors.
It's important to note that performing a thorough patent search requires experience and training. If you have never performed a patent search before, you might not look everywhere you need to look and might not know how to evaluate what you find. Therefore, it's always recommended that you consult with an experienced patent law attorney before determining that your idea is both unpatented and patentable.
Our Roseville patent law firm is available to assist you with all your patent law needs. We will review your invention or idea, perform the necessary research and help you file for an appropriate patent so you can protect your intellectual property.