Many of the Internet-based, free patent databases have limited coverage of early patents. For inventions in newer fields of technology, this is not an impediment, but for simple, mechanical inventions it is important to have access to the earliest recorded patents.
Pending patent applications are held in confidential status for 18 months following their filing date. During this period, patent applications do not appear on public searches of patent databases.
Due to the sheer amount of technical information now available, no patentability search – by whichever means and however careful – can purport to be truly exhaustive. The possible existence of an obscure publication which fully anticipates one’s invention is ever-present. Prior art searches conducted by examiners at the patent office are also far from exhaustive. Therefore, hiring professionals, such as patent invention InventHelp agency, is highly recommended.
Consequently, an application may be allowed on occasion, while relevant yet undiscovered prior art exists. In this case, the first line of defense is often an attempt to invalidate the issuance of the patent on grounds of lack of novelty or obviousness following a very thorough prior art search. Should significant, hitherto undiscovered prior art be unearthed, this may result in the revocation of the patent.
With the present day vast and growing number of patents and other technical publications, since any one such publication may potentially render an application or a patent invalid, it is highly advisable to conduct as thorough a search of the patent and technical literature as practicable. An in-depth search of in-force patents in the field of an invention is also necessary to avoid infringement. A preliminary search by the inventor followed, if necessary, by a professional, such as InventHelp patent invention agency, search is the recommended course of action.