The information below, from the Patent and Trademark Office, can help you do a patent search on your own. Of course, Van Dyke Intellectual Property Law can provide this service to you.
The search of patents is an art unto itself. The searcher needs to look beyond the words in the proposed patent and into analogous terms that also approximate and encompass the proposed idea. An experienced patent attorney can help the applicant differentiate his or her ideas from those that are found through the search process.
Published Patent Application Access and Status Information Sheet for Members of the Public
I. Access to, and copies of applications which have been published
A member of the public cannot obtain direct physical access to any pending published (original) application, but may obtain a copy of the papers in the application file as follows:
On-line: Patent application publications are available electronically on the USPTO website, athttp://www.uspto.gov/patft/index.html . A copy of a patent application publication, a patent application file contents or a particular paper within the file contents of a patent application that was published under 35 U.S.C. 122(b) may be requested electronically at http://ebiz1.uspto.gov/oems25p/index.html with authorization to charge the appropriate fee to a deposit account or credit card.
By mail: A copy of a patent application publication, a patent application file contents or a particular paper within the file contents of an patent application that was published under 35 U.S.C. 122(b) may be requested by mail. Address correspondence to:
Director Of United States Patent and Trademark Office
PO Box 1450
Alexandria, Virginia 22313-1450.
The request must include the application’s publication number and payment of the appropriate fee.
By facsimile: A copy of a patent application publication, a patent application file contents or a particular paper within the file contents of an patent application that was published under 35 U.S.C. 122(b) may be requested by facsimile, with a credit card, electronic fund transfer, or deposit account authorization for the appropriate fee. The FAX number is (703) 305-8759.
In person : The file contents of a pending application that was published as a patent application publication will not be given to a member of the public without a power to inspect. If the application is abandoned , the entire application (except in the situation where the publication was a redacted publication) is available to the public for inspection and for making copies through the File Information Unit (FIU). The FIU is located at 2800 South Randolph Street, Shirlington, Virginia, 22206. The telephone number of the FIU is (703) 756-1800.
Fees: The fee for a copy of an application file’s contents is set forth in 37 CFR 1.19(b)(2). The fee for a particular paper is set forth in 37 CFR 1.19(b)(4).
Questions: Contact the Public Records Division Customer Service Line at (571) 272-3150 or (800) 972-6382. Customer Service staff are available between 8:30 a.m. and 5:00 p.m. U.S. Eastern Standard Time. The After Hours Technical Support Line is: (800) 786-9199. Help using the online ordering system is available at On-line Shopping Help Contents .
II. Status Information About Published or Patented Applications
On- Line: For published and patented applications, status information may easily be obtained using the Patent Application Information Retrieval (PAIR) system.
By telephone: Third parties should not call the Office to inquire as to the status of a published application other than to inquire if the application is still pending. To see if the application is still pending, third parties may call the FIU at (703) 756-1800.