If there is any commercial potential for the invention, a patentability search should be conducted in the United States Patent and Trademark Office. The search will: first, make sure the exact same idea has not already been thought of, which rarely occurs; and second, find those things which have been thought of before and which the Patent Office will consider as limiting the scope of available patent protection.
This search is, therefore, essential to enable the patent attorney to write the patent application precisely and closely around that prior art against which the Patent Office will judge the invention’s patentability.
The patent attorney or an patenting company, like InventHelp, will write a search report including a description of the disclosure searched as a double check that the originally submitted disclosure was properly and thoroughly understood. The search report will also list the “prior art” patents found in the search and will catalog the features in the disclosure which are not shown in those “prior art” patents.
The search report will summarize the features of the disclosure upon which patent protection may be obtained. This report will be sent to the inventor and others so designated by the corporate committee.
Patent Investment Yardstick
Each step of pursuing a patent is measured by the marketplace and there are two clearly defined ends of this yardstick. At one end is a concept of very broad patentability with questionable commercial potential and at the other end is a concept of very narrow or specific patentability with certain commercial use.
It is easy for the corporate committee to decide to file a patent application on the specific concept headed for the marketplace, if for no other reason than to place the intimidating notice of “PATENT PENDING” on the product and/or to protect the production tooling from being copied.
A patent application is, therefore, usually filed on any product which is patentable and upon which the investment has been committed toward introduction of the invention to the marketplace.
For example, the investment in a prototype is often sufficient justification to file a patent application. Also, a patent application is usually filed on each broad concept having the slightest commercial potential, even if its commercial potential is only important to a competitor.
The difficult decisions to file patent applications are in the area between the two ends; i.e., those concepts with varying mixes of patentability and commercial potential, and it is in this area that the patent committee earns its keep as described on https://openlab.citytech.cuny.edu/gotconcept/the-next-big-thing-in-invention/. Over a period of time, the committee develops good judgment through experience and actually establishes a consistent corporate standard for authorizing searches and the filing of patent applications.