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Research US Patents on the Web

A patent search is done to determine if an invention is truly a new idea or if it has already been patented. Having completed a patent search, an inventor can make an informed decision as to whether or not to proceed with the patent application process.

There are two very important rules to follow when conducting a patent search. Rule one, you must search back to the year 1790. USPTO patent examiners, the people who evaluate inventions for patentability, search the patent literature back to 1790 looking for conflicting patents. Rule two, your search must employ the U.S. Patent Classification because it is the most comprehensive method to search U.S. patents.

Below, Section I of this tutorial demonstrates how to search by keyword to retrieve patents similar to your invention from which the Current U.S. Patent Classification can be determined. Section II of this tutorial demonstrates how to search by Current U.S. Patent Classification back to 1790. READ THE ENTIRE TUTORIAL BEFORE BEGINNING YOUR PATENT SEARCH.

If you have any questions about the patent application process, it is strongly recommended that you consult with a registered patent attorney or agent.

The strategies presented in this guide are intended to help inventors conduct PRELIMINARY research of United States patents. A complete patentability search must consider all prior art, including foreign patents and non-patent literature. Please make sure you read the date of last update, help pages and any important notices before searching the USPTO Web Patent Database.


Section I. Keyword Search

  1. Write down as many words as you can think of that describe your invention, what it does, and its utility. Think broadly and creatively. You will use these words for your keyword searches of the USPTO Web Patent Database.
  2. Point your browser to the USPTO Web Patent Database http://www.uspto.gov/patft/index.html
  3. Click Advanced Search under Patent Grants. (see fig.1).

    Fig. 1
    Patent Grants
    (full-text since 1976, full-page images since 1790)
    Patent Applications
    (published since 15 March 2001)

    * Quick Search
    * Advanced Search
    * Patent Number Search
     
    * Help
    * How to Access Full-Page Images

    * Quick Search
    * Advanced Search
    * Application Number Search
     
    * Help
    * How to Access Full-Page Images

    * Tools to Help in Searching by Patent Classification
  4.  

  5. From the drop-down menu below Select Years, click All Years (see fig.2).
  6. Type your search terms into the box below Query. Be sure to use the AND operator to combine search terms. Click Search (see fig. 2).

    Fig. 2

    Query [Help]
    Example: ttl/needle or ttl/syringe andnot (sew or thread$)
    Select Years [Help]
       

    Field Code

    Field Name

     

    Field Code

    Field Name

    PN Patent Number IN Inventor Name
    ISD Issue Date IC Inventor City
    TTL Title IS Inventor State
    ABST Abstract ICN Inventor Country
    ACLM Claim(s) LREP Attorney or Agent
    SPEC Description/Specification AN Assignee Name
    CCL Current US Classification AC Assignee City

 

Keyword Search Tips

Field Codes are listed at the bottom of the Advanced Search Screen (see fig. 2).  To limit your search to a specific part of patents, type in the appropriate Field Code along with a forward slash before the keyword. For example, TTL/tennis would limit the search for the word tennis to the titles of patents. Limiting a search to patent titles or abstracts should lead to more targeted results. If no Field Code is specified the full-text of every patent in the database is searched back to January 1, 1976.

"tennis balls"
Terms enclosed in quotation marks are searched as a phrase.
ball$
Retrieves: balloon, ball, balls, ballad, etc.
tennis AND string
AND between two words looks for patents containing both words.
(racquet OR racket)
OR between two words looks for patents containing either or both words. OR is usually used to search for synonyms. Words combined using OR must be enclosed in parenthesis.
racket ANDNOT shoes
ANDNOT before a word excludes every patent that contains that word.
  1. Click on any patent number or title that seems similar to your invention to see the full-text (see fig. 3).

    Fig. 3

    Results of Search in All Years db for:
    ((tennis AND string) AND synthetic)
    : 190 patents.
    Hits 1 through 50 out of 190



    PAT. NO. Title
    1 6,117,383 - Process for producing strings for stringing rackets
    2 6,106,417 - Lightweight tennis racket having high frequency
    3 6,082,462 - Horseshoe imparting natural conformance and function
    4 6,071,203 - Two piece sports racquet
    5 6,009,699 - Composite synthetic string for a tennis racket
    6 6,005,041 - Reinforced thermoplastic elastomeric gel (RTEG)
    7 5,992,344 - Tournament scheduler
    8 5,980,403 - Devices and method for maintaining string tension
    9 5,954,594 - Golf wood club

     

  2. Read the Abstract, Claims, and Current U.S. Class/Subclass numbers to determine if a patent is similar to yours (see fig.4). Pay special attention to the Claims as they are the statements included in a patent application that detail how an invention is unique, why it is patentable. Write down the Current U.S. Class/Subclass numbers of patents that seem similar to your invention. In Section II of this handout, you will search the database by these Current U.S. Class/Subclass numbers.
  3. Click Images at the top of the screen to view the images of a patent, (see fig. 4). A quick look at the images is all it usually takes to determine how similar a patent is to your invention (see fig. 5). If you are working from home it will be necessary to download and install AlternaTIFF software to view patent images. Installation instructions for AlternaTIFF are provided on the last page of this guide.
     

Fig. 4

CartOrder
Get Image

( 5 of 190 )


United States Patent 6,009,699
Delvael January 4, 2000

Composite synthetic string for a tennis racket

Abstract

Composite synthetic string, in particular for a tennis racket. According to the invention, the string is made up of central monofilaments surrounded by mono-filament threads and by multifilament threads, the assembly being impregnated and covered in polyurethane. The string is applicable to tennis rackets having increased lifetime and that react in lively manner under the impact of a ball.


Inventors: Delvael; Yves (Belgique, FR)
Assignee: Cousin Biotech (S.A.R.L.) (FR)
Appl. No.: 987400
Filed: December 9, 1997

Foreign Application Priority Data
Oct 23, 1997[FR] 97 13277
Current U.S. Class: 57/232; 57/210; 57/224; 57/230; 57/234; 57/241; 57/250; 57/258
Intern'l Class: D02G 003/36
Field of Search: 57/210,224,230,232,234,241,242,250,251,258


Directions for printing and navigating in the AlternaTIFF viewer:
Print a page - click the printer icon in the viewer.
Move screen to screen - click the yellow arrows on the left side of the screen. |
Zoom in - click anywhere on the patent.
Zoom out - click anywhere on the patent
Exit AlternaTIFF - click the back button in your browser several times to return to the list of patent numbers and titles in the Full-Text Database.

Fig. 5

Patent Image
  1. Click on the back button in your browser several times to return to the list of patent numbers and titles in the Full-Text Database.
  2. Definitions and cross-references of Current U.S. Class/Subclass numbers can be looked up in the Classification Definitions http://www.uspto.gov/web/offices/ac/ido/oeip/taf/def/index.htm
    This information can aid you in selecting the most applicable Current U.S. Class/Subclasses.

  3. Repeat steps 6 – 10 until you feel certain that you have determined the most applicable Current U.S. Class/Subclass numbers. Proceed to Section II to search by Current U.S. Class/Subclass number.


Section II. Current U.S. Patent Classification Search:

  1. Point your browser to http://www.uspto.gov/patft/index.html
  2. Click Advanced Search under Patent Grants.
  3. From the drop-down menu below Select Years, click All Years (see fig. 6).
  4. In the Query box, type CCL/ followed by one of the U.S. Class/Subclass numbers you determined from your keyword searches. Click Search (see fig. 6).

    Fig. 6

    Query [Help]
    Example: ttl/needle or ttl/syringe andnot (sew or thread$)
    Select Years [Help]
       

    Field Code

    Field Name

    Field Code

    Field Name

    PN Patent Number IN Inventor Name
    ISD Issue Date IC Inventor City
    TTL Title IS Inventor State
    ABST Abstract ICN Inventor Country
    ACLM Claim(s) LREP Attorney or Agent
    SPEC Description/Specification AN Assignee Name
    CCL Current US Classification AC Assignee City
  5.  

  6. A list of patent numbers and titles will appear on the screen (see fig. 7). Click File and then click Print to print the first 50 patent numbers and titles of the list. If your search yielded more than 50 results click Next 50 Hits and print these. Continue this process until you have printed all of the results.
  7. Click on each patent number to read the full-text and view the images. Print a copy of the full-text and images of those patents that are very similar to yours. Highlight these on the printout of your results list.

    Fig. 7



    1 6,119,632 Lariat, lariat rope body and method
    2 6,062,014 String for a racket
    3 6,032,454 Composite yarn
    4 6,009,699 Composite synthetic string for a tennis racket
    5 5,802,828 Composite yarn for the manufacturing of braided packings,
    6 5,771,673 Line, in particular fishing line, as well as method for its production
    7 5,727,357 Composite reinforcement
    8 5,683,778 Braided graphite-foil and method of production
    9 5,683,642 PC strand coated with rust inhibitor and method for producing the same
    10 5,605,035 Rope with strain damage indicator

     

  8. Repeat steps 1 to 6 above for the other US. Class/Subclass numbers you have determined from your keyword searches in Section I. Also, search the Patent Applications by the US Class/Subclass numbers using the strategies presented in step 1 through 6 above (see fig. 8).
    Fig. 8
    Patent Grants
    (full-text since 1976, full-page images since 1790)
    Patent Applications
    (published since 15 March 2001)

    * Quick Search
    * Advanced Search
    * Patent Number Search
     
    * Help
    * How to Access Full-Page Images

    * Quick Search
    * Advanced Search
    * Application Number Search
     
    * Help
    * How to Access Full-Page Images

    * Tools to Help in Searching by Patent Classification

Additional Information

For help with your patent research ask at the Reference Desk or visit the UCF Patent and Trademark Depository Library homepage at: http://library.ucf.edu/GovDocs/pat_trad.htm

Below, is a list of select patent related books available at the UCF Library:

United States Patent and Trademark Office. Basic Facts About Patents. Washington D.C: USPTO, 1999 http://www.uspto.gov/web/offices/pac/doc/general/

Hitchcock, David. Patent Searching Made Easy: How to Do Patent Searches… Berkeley: Nolo Press, 2000 Patents (Non-Circulating) T210 .H58 2000

Sharpe, Charles. Patent, Trademark, and Copyright Searching on the Internet. Jefferson, North Carolina: Mcfarland & Company, 1999
Patents (Non-Circulating) T210 .S53 2000

 

Instructions for downloading the AlternaTIFF viewer plug-in:

If you are working from home, to view patent images it will be necessary to download and install AlternaTIFF viewer. Computers in the UCF Patent and Trademark Library have had this software installed.

  1. Point your browser to: http://www.mieweb.com/alternatiff/
  2. Click one of the links to download the latest version of AlternaTIFF v1.3.7
  3. A pop-up box should appear prompting you to specify where you would like to save the AlternaTIFF plug-in. Insert a 3.5" diskette in drive A:\ and then select drive A:\. The filename will most likely will be: A:\alternatiff-1_3_7.exe.
  4. Click "SAVE" to save the AlternaTIFF plug-in to the diskette in your A:\ drive .
  5. Click the "Start" button in lower left corner of your desktop (screen).
  6. Click "Run"
  7. Click "Browse"
  8. A pop-up box should appear. Select "3.5" Floppy A:\" and choose "All Files."
  9. Click on "alternatiff-1_3_7.exe" and then Click "Open"
  10. Click "Ok" to open A:\aternatiff-1_3_7.exe
  11. A WinZip Self-Extractor pop-up box should appear. Click "Setup."
  12. An AlternaTIFF plug-in Registration pop-up box should appear. Fill in the required fields and then click "Next."
  13. An AlternaTIFF Setup pop-up box should appear. Check the boxes next to Netscape and/or Internet Explorer to specify where AlternaTIFF should be installed on your computer. Depending on whether you have Netscape, Internet Explorer, or both will dictate which boxes you will check. Click "Install."
  14. Click "Ok" and the next time you open your browser the AlternaTIFF viewer plug-in will be installed and you will be able to view patent images.

Patents Homepage

Last updated October 13, 2011 9:28:26 AM

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Property of the University of Central Florida
Peter Spyers-Duran, June 2001