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Patents and Trademarks

Provides an introduction to patents, how to search for patents, & basic information on trademarks.

Brainstorm Your Keywords

Patents tend to be awarded for function rather than for application. Use these strategies to help develop a list of potential keywords to use in your search:
Think about:
* What does the invention do -- function and purpose?
* What is the outcome or result?  What problem does it solve?
* How does it work?
* What is it composed of? What materials are used?

Start Searching

Once you have brainstormed some keywords based on your products' purpose, composition and use you are ready to start!
If you're just looking for ideas, sample patents are easy to find.
Use Google Patents or The Lens to try your keywords.
You can also use Google's Advanced Patent Search or the Lens's Structured Search to limit to:
  • inventor (individuals)
  • assignee/owner (company/institution)
  • range of years
  • countries where the patent was filed
  • etc.
Sometimes, a brand name is used in a patent, such as the Roomba, which is a "robot obstacle detection system."
When you find patents similar to your concept, make note of their assigned classification numbers, which look like these.

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