25 April 2005

What, no searching!?

In the "good old days" of patent practice, it used to be appropriate to file a first patent application on the confirmation by the client that he or she was satisfied that the invention was new. In the present information age, however, I think that any patent attorney who cannot offer a reasonably priced, effective novelty search is either lazy or inefficient.

The Internet has become one of the most powerful tools of both a patent attorney and an inventor. There are numerous databases that can now be searched. I am constantly reminded of the old adage that "love is blind" when I interview clients. A large proportion of these intelligent and reasonable people have not even done a simple query on a search engine. A good day's browsing could save an inventor thousands. Perhaps more importantly, such a search can put an inventor in a position in which he or she can more accurately select a market niche for the invention.

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