Tuesday, November 26, 2013

How to Find a Patent

Today’s blog is a review of some free internet resources available to find a patent.  But I can make it easy:  go to Google.

When looking for a patent, start with Google Patents.  This is the easiest and most forgiving website to use.  If you have the patent, application, or publication number you simply enter it and the information will come right up.  If you don’t have that information, you can enter the inventor’s or owner’s name and it is almost always on the first page.  In a pinch you can enter a description of the invention because a lot of times you get lucky.  As an example, I will use Patent # 8533976:  Footwear Having an Enclosed Toe.  I entered the following terms: 8533976, Fuerst Patent, Keen Inc Patent, and Footwear with Enclosed Toe.  The patent came up as the 1st, 6th, 1st, and 2nd item. 

Google Patents best feature is that the patent is usually available as a pdf file.  This is a big advantage over other websites when it comes to printing or navigating the actual document.

Unfortunately, Google Patents casts its net broadly and can result in too many returns.  For those situations I usually turn to the United States Patent and Trademark Office website which lists several patent databases.  The first item is on the list is the full text database, PatFT.  The PatFT database contains all patents issued since 1790 with full text capability for patents issued since.  A front end interface allows simple incorporation of search terms.

Some other websites of note include:

PatentLens:  While a little complicated to use, PatentLens has advanced features that help when you have to dig deeper for a patent.

PriorSmart:  I rarely use this website, but it has some nice features if you can limit your search to a specific country.

Patentscope and Espacenet:  These European websites, especially Patentscope, are handy when an international patent is involved.  The USPTO index provides links to these databases as well as database links to Japan, Korea, Australia and many other countries.

GSPN:  Available since July of 2013, the Global Searchable Patent Network is a cooperative database between the USPTO and China’s State Intellectual Property Office (SIPO).  The database provides access to machine translations for Chinese applications and patents.

One last thing to keep in mind is that there is a difference between finding a patent and a patent search.  Knowing the patent number, inventor name or having some idea about the invention is a big advantage when trying to find a patent.  The term patent search refers to a broader search intended to find ideas or inventions that are similar to an invention being considered for patenting.  While the databases listed can be used, patent searches are more about discipline and technique than databases.


Below is a summary of selected patents that have been recently issued in textile related classification codes:

Footwear Having an Enclosed Toe:  A single piece block composed of a midsole and toe enclosure.  It acts as a consistent integrated base that allows designers to make modifications without worrying about significantly affecting the basic fit and function of the shoe.  Patent #:  8533976.   Inventor:  Fuerst.  Assignee:  Keen, Inc.

Quickly Releasable Vest:  A vest made of several components held together with quick release buckles and tapes.  A mechanism is incorporated into the system that allows the user to pull a cord which releases the tapes and allows the vest to be removed quickly.  It is intended for emergency purposes, such as when a soldier falls into deep water, to allow quick removal of the weight.  Patent #: 8533862.  Inventor: Khandelwal.  Assignee:  MKU PVT Ltd.

Stabilizing Garment System:  A shirt and pants where spandex bands are incorporated directly into the garment following major muscle and ligament lines.  The spandex provides compression along these line preventing sprains and strains.  Patent #:  8533864.  Inventor:  Kostrzewski.  Not Assigned.

Article Having an Improved Closure Device:  A button replacement that is easier to fasten and has locking capability to improve security.  Patent #: 8533866.  Inventor:  Lindquist.  Assignee:  VF Jeanswear Limited Partnership.

Shoe:  A lightweight athletic shoe with a widened and rounded sole that allows better and faster side to side motion.  The modified sole prevents the edge from getting caught and causing a “braking” effect that occurs when the force of the sideways motion is concentrated in the small edge area of a smaller soled shoe.  Patent #:  8533977.  Inventor:  Kazushi, et. al.  Assignee:  Yonex Kabushiki Kaisha.

Method and system for fastening footwear having releasably locking device(s):  A looping device that shoe laces are intended to wrap around.  Maintains the tension on the laces when in use but when removed releases the tension on the laces, quickly freeing up the shoe tongue to allow the foot exit.  Patent #: 8533978.  Inventor:  Volin.  Not assigned.

Map for Footwear:  A shoe designed to provide kinetic feedback for training.  In its simplest form, the shoe has 4 protuberances spaced 90 degrees apart to provide the body feedback about the positioning and weight distribution of the foot.  Patent #: 8533980.  Inventors:  Elbaz and Mor.  Assignee:  APOS—Medical and Sports Technologies Ltd.

Method and Apparatus for Braiding Microstrands:  A machine for braiding with lower tensions that is capable of braiding microstrands (including metallic strands) without breaking them.  Patent #:  8534176.  Inventor:  Giszter, et. al.  Assignee:  Philadelphia Health & Education Corporation, Drexel University.

Sewing Machine and Computer Program:  Software and sensors for an embroidery machine that takes the height of the embroidery pattern into account when optimizing the sewing pattern, footprint, and resulting machine motion.  Patent #:  8534209.  Inventor:  Hirata.  Assignee:  Brother Kogyo Kabushiki Kaisha.

Jim Carson is a principal of RB Consulting, Inc. and a registered patent agent.  He has over 30 years of experience across multiple industries including the biotechnology, textile, computer, telecommunications, and energy sectors.  RB Consulting, Inc. specializes in providing regulatory, management and prototyping services to small and start-up businesses.  He can be reached via email at James.Carson.Jr@gmail.com or by phone at (803) 792-2183.



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