Searching for Patents can Save Thousands of Dollars.
Recently the U.S. reached its 10 millionth patent. Internationally, there are more than 1 million patent applications filed each year but only about 50-70% of them result in a patent. A conservative estimate for preparing and filing each application is around $10,000. This means that the odds are roughly 50-50 that an inventor will receive a patent after spending $10k (and no, there are no refunds).
Many of the patents that are rejected, are rejected because they are not new or they are obvious in light of existing patents. A professional, properly conducted patent search can help identify patents which may indicate the invention is not new or that if new, is obvious. In addition, searching for patents can help identify who the competition is, who a potential licensee is and how others have attempted to solve the same problem and failed. The benefit of the patent search can often be non-monetary. Generally, the cost for the patent search can begin around $500 to $2,500 (and can go up from there).
If you hire an attorney conduct a search and spend around $500, the results may indicate that your patent may be unsuccessful. In this case, the search just saved you $9,500. If as a result of the search, the inventor makes changes to the invention and the application on the modified invention is allowed, the $500 search just help save your $10,000 investment. Then, if the inventor turns the patent into a profitable business, the benefit of the search can often far exceed its cost.
Prior to filing an application, we encourage our clients to consider searching for patents, which can result in a better application and may save an inventor thousands of dollars.