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Sandi Bowman
April 9, 2007, 04:10 PM
Hi, Jim,

There's a LOT more to patenting than searches and a lawyer...and the time frame can be rather long to completion. Here's some help for you:

The patent office will do searching for you...they offer at least a couple of different types of searches...one of which used to be free...not sure of current status on that.

You will need a Patent Attorney. They are attorneys who have passed special qualifications and been granted the right to practice before the Patent Office Board etc.

A regular attorney can prepare the initial paperwork and searches on your behalf but only a Patent Attorney can do the actual patenting process.

The devil is in the details, Jim. Just because something has been patented in the past doesn't mean it can't be patented again. It depends upon the type and degree of differences and similarities for one thing. Confusion in the mind of the consumer for another...and so it goes. This is one reason a simple search is just a mere starting point.

For a patent to be a good one, it should be as broad as possible to allow for full exploitation by the patent holder and to prevent others from copy-catting as much as possible by changing one small detail.

This info is based on my prior experience with potential patents of my own. I am not a lawyer and this should not be construed as legal advice.

Sandra Bowman

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