Need advice on patents?
Have you ever thought about some of the things you use every day and wondered if the person that invented them became rich? As crazy as it sounds most of the time that has not been the case. The reason is because they didn’t get a patent on their idea and someone else took the idea and ran with it. One never really knows what is going to become the next pet rock craze so it is vital to get your idea patented to protect yourself.
Although the first place people often go to locate information on patents is their country’s patent office, there are other places as well to get advice and assistance as well. Below is the U.S. and European patent offices as well as eight other places that are popular with inventors and businesses. There is helpful advice and also ways to look up existing patents. Finding out if your idea is already patented will save you a lot of time developing it when you would be best to go on to the next idea.
Global Alexa Rating: 5,300
The United States Patent and Trademark Office is the place to go for obtaining a patent in the U.S. The site is easy to navigate with links to do a patent search, file online for a patent, or even check your application status. The site includes information on what a patent is and how the process works. It even has a section noted that first-time filers should begin there so you can view an online brochure, download and print a guide and read through all the resources available. There is also information about trademarks. One area is devoted specifically to inventors and includes links to their Inventors Assistance Center.
Global Alexa Rating: 18,466
While patent office sites are great for getting information it can often be helpful to go to other resources to get tips and other tools that can make the information easier to digest and understand. This site has a number of ways to help someone understand patents. There is a blog area that has a number of topics regarding patents. There is also a tools & resources section that includes patent research tools, patents by classification, a university tech database, and a geographic visualization so you can see the patent activity in your area. The main page lists the most popular patent topics in various industries.
Global Alexa Rating: 48,526
This is the place to go when looking to obtain a European patent. Just as the U.S. site does, here you can file online and search existing patents. The site can be displayed in English, French or German. The search interface can be used in some other languages such as Japanese, Chinese and Korean. It is very easy to navigate. The site also includes news that relates to the EPO and there is a president’s blog. One should check out the learning & events tab for online training and a list of upcoming online courses.
Global Alexa Rating: 187,762
This site is useful for those that want to track what is going on in the world of patents. Sometime after a patent application is received yet before the USPTO grants a decision, the general public can view the contents. This site gives you the ability to locate and track applications so that you are on top of what is going on in your business’s industry. This information can be helpful for any number of people in the business and investing world. Besides having a search capability, the patent application highlights are listed right on the main page. It can be interesting to scroll down the list and see just what new things could be available in the future.
Global Alexa Rating: 191,137
This site currently lists nearly 5 million patents, nearly 3 million inventors and almost 400,000 patent holders – easily searched by category, inventor, holder, patent number or patent title. On the right hand side of the main page are recently added patents and randomly featured patents. This site is easy to use and useful whether you are an inventor, a patent attorney or just curious what patents are out there. There is also some basic information about types of patents, what is patentable and what is not.
Global Alexa Rating: 410,257
This site is also great for looking up patents and seeing both new ones and recent applications. It also enables you to search for a patent attorney. An interesting feature of this site is the ability to list patents for sale or lease or find ones that are for sale. You can pull up patents from each state separately and search just those from that state. The resources section is a FAQ of general information as well as getting patents in foreign countries and a list of things to be careful about.
Global Alexa Rating: 560,909
This is a very high-tech tool for accessing patent information and data along with powerful analytical and productivity tools. Far more than the typical inventor would need but a valuable site in the business world. The benefit is being able to search 54 million worldwide patents. The downside is that you need a subscription to do so. For a business that needs an in-depth IP research tool this isn’t a big concern but this is not for just the curious minded. They offer a regular and unlimited subscription for individuals and also corporate and group rate ones. You can also get a one-day pass (currently $49) to check out the site to see if it will be helpful to you.
Global Alexa Rating: 1,359,181 (UK) / 4,757,391 (US)
Both websites do the same things so simply choose the one for where you live. They are a company that does more than just give you information about how to get a patent. They help inventors make their ideas a reality. They help with getting the patent, trademark or other protection necessary. They help you create a visualization of your idea so it can be professionally presented and marketed. Lastly, they work with you to have a prototype manufactured. Their plan is to walk an inventor through the entire process thus protecting their idea and making it a reality.
Global Alexa Rating: 4,699,360
This site is a how-to guide for inventors. It has a number of categories to help including where to begin, what a patent is, how to search patents, how to apply for a patent, how to find an attorney, information about prototypes, marketing an invention, licensing an invention and even how to avoid scams. There are inventor stories and helpful inventor links available. Although this site is not as thorough as some other sites, it is a nice place to start as terminology is easy to understand and the layout is easy to navigate.
Global Alexa Rating: 9,417,944
At some point an inventor is going to want to have a good patent attorney. While this one is listed is in no way an endorsement, it is on this list to show you just what a patent attorney does and what fees to expect. There are sections on this site discussing general patent information, scam warning information and foreign patent information. Other sites give you the ability to locate a patent attorney in your area and after looking at this site you will have more of an idea what to expect.
Sometimes we come up with an idea and we sit back and think that if we are smart enough to come up with it someone else must have already done so. Wouldn’t it be great to do a patent search and find out? You could be sitting on the next great invention and not even know it! Your local department store is full of things that people just like you invented. There is no reason why your widget can’t be sold right next to theirs.