Begin you research by searching for existing patents. Go to the USPTO site.
- In the left hand column labeled “Patents” select # 2 Search the Patent Full-Test and Image Database
- If you know the patent # click that link
- If you do not know the patent number click the “Quick Search.”
- Enter a words in each of the “Term 1” and “Term 2”
- Here is where it gets tricky and you must use your ingenuity. Try using a variety of word combinations to find a patent list that is manageable. If your terms are too broad you could have a list of hundreds if not thousands of patents. We searched “sleep apnea” the results included 2640 results. When we changed the terms that more closely resembled an aspect of our device and put in the terms “hyoid and apnea” we found 54 devices that more closely resembled ours.
- Check the “select years” box. If you believe there has been similar treatment for your chosen disease before 1976 check the “1790 to present.” If you think it would make sense to start more recently check the “1976 to Present” box. The second option will probably get the best results.
- When you have a patent of interest click the patent number or title. The full text of the patent will appear. It will tell you the date the patent was issued. It will also tell you other patents related to your choice when they were issued. Usually these patents have some relation to your searched patent. They may be precedents by the same inventors or other devices that have some aspect of the current design present in their application.
- You can see images that were filed with the device by clicking “Images” at the top of the page. The USPTO will guide you to a reader program that can be downloaded to vide the images associated with the patent.
You can also check engines like Google and enter the disease or similar device and add the word patent at the end. This often will bring up 50 or more patents or patent applications.