While you might think you've stumbled upon a world-changing idea or product, it can be difficult to ensure that your work is truly your own and hasn't already been discovered by a rival inventor in a far flung country.
It's hard enough to search through good patents to see what other people have done in the past, but this was made even harder by the number of bad patents that used to clog up search results online. Google has acknowledged this, updating it's patent search system so that – along with the services of patent lawyers – people have the information they need.
Part of the reason for the service's tidy up is the sheer number of patents being filed across the globe. Thanks to our digital culture, the number of people and businesses looking to secure patents is steadily increasing.
According the US Patent and Trademark Office, around 600,000 patent applications were filed in 2014 alone. Patents generally require a lot of skill and expertise to be granted as only 300,000 were consequently issued.
One of the key parts of the patent application process is proving that an invention is unique and deserves to be categorised differently, an endeavour that previously forced people to dig around amongst a sea of questionably relevant patents.
Now, included in Google's update is the ability to search via "prior art" (which proves or disproves the validity of an invention), making it substantially easier to select relevant sources that either prove or disprove your patent's viability.
Although this is a handy consumer tool, the patent application process is still a complicated one to the untrained person and can be expensive if an application is rejected.
To ensure that you have relevant professional advice throughout the patent application process, contact the team at Alder IP.