Mitchell Law PLLC

Why conduct a prior art search?

Having a prior art search conducted before drafting a patent application has many advantages – both financial and strategic.  The prior art is extensive, including over 8 million US patents, published US patent applications, and millions of technical publications, white papers, and journals.  These references, or combination of references, may render your invention anticipated or obvious, and therefore unpatentable.

Strategically, knowing the scope and content of the prior art before drafting a patent application enables educated claim drafting thereby increasing your chances for broader patent protection.  When a patent drafter is aware of a potential prior art reference, the claims may be drafted to avoid conflicts saving both time and valuable resources.  Additionally, amending claims during patent prosecution can surrender aspects of the invention between the original claim and the amended claim, i.e., resulting in a presumption of surrender of equivalents for the particular claim limitation narrowed by the amendment.  This presumption can permit competitors greater opportunities to design around your invention and significantly limit licensing opportunities.  It is therefore advantageous to conduct a prior art search to discover and understand the prior art references before filing the patent application.

Financially, the patent process is an expensive investment.  From inception to a success patent issuance, the patent process can cost more than $10,000.  In some situations, significant resources are committed to the patent process before discovering a patent blocking reference.  A prior art search helps identify pertinent patent references before committing significant financial resources and enabling more educated patent investment decisions.  Additionally, many US patent examiners rely on references identified during a prior art search, speeding the patent examination and thus lowering patent prosecution costs.

Prior Art Search Reports Offered and Fees

Our US Search is a search of current and expired US Patents and published applications.  Both Basic and Complex Mechanical searches include full subclass searching of the 2-5 most relevant subclasses and focused searching of less relevant subclasses.  Electrical, software and non-mechanical searches will normally be targeted searches pertaining to identified subclasses.

U.S. Search
+ elemental tagging
+ International Search
+ Patentability Opinion
Basic Mechanical $350 free $150 $500
Complex Mechanical $550 $100 $150 $500
Electrical & Electromechanical $550 $100 $250 $500
Software $650 $100 $250 $600
Designs $350 N/A $200 N/A


About Elemental Tagging

With this feature, your report will include a table showing the elements of your invention charted against the elements identified in references located in the search.  You can specify the elements or we can pick using your invention disclosure.

International Search

The International Search can only be ordered in conjunction with a US Search.  The international search will normally be text limited since the international classification is less helpful than US classification.  We use commercial search databases such as Delphion and EAST to aid the search.

Patentability Opinion

The Opinion can only be ordered in conjunction with one of the searches shown above.  All patentability opinions are written by a registered patent attorney based on prior art references identified in the search.

Knowledge Center

Patent Information Background and useful information on various intellectual property law topics.
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