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If I have an idea for what I believe is a new product, how do I check for previous patents?

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I have an idea and a design for a new item. I've searched the web and can't find this product--but that doesn't mean it does not exist. I don't know whether I need to pay a service to check patents or if I can continue with my idea. Also, if I need to search patents, how do you find the correct agency to go through?
The most efficient use of your time and funds is to consult with a patent attorney about the process. You could search the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office database (it has a helpful tutorial) if you haven’t already.

However, professional patent searches are more in-depth . . . plus, there are many technicalities not generally known that could affect the strength of the patent.

A qualified patent attorney can help you navigate this area smoothly and advise you properly of any pitfalls.
Nina Kaufman

Written By

Nina L. Kaufman, Esq. is an award-winning New York City attorney, edutainer and author. Under her Ask The Business Lawyer brand, she reaches thousands of entrepreneurs and small business owners with her legal services, professional speaking, information products, and LexAppeal weekly ezine. She also writes the Making It Legal blog.