How to Search for Design Patents

By Melinda Gaines

Many people who have a design idea that they feel is completely unique contemplate manufacturing or producing the design, and obtaining a patent for their idea. While many potential inventors do have 100 percent original ideas, other ideas already have a design patent in place. To determine whether your idea is unique or already has a patent, you will need to perform a design patent search.

Apply for a patent from the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO). A patent search will be conducted as part of the application examination process at no additional cost You don't need to request a search, as it is automatically done for each applicant. The application fees vary according to the type of design patent you need.

Visit the USPTO official website and search for design patents online. There is no cost to do this, and you can access the website from any location, as long as your computer has Internet access.

Go to the USPTO library nearest you to perform a design patent search. You can use the library list located on the USPTO official website (see "Resources" section that follows).

Use a paid design patent search service, such as Quick Patents or Simple Patents. The cost for a patent search typically ranges between $175 and $300, depending on the service you choose.

About the Author

Melinda Gaines has been a freelance writer since 2006, with work appearing online for YellowPages and other websites. Her areas of expertise include business, beauty, fashion and sports. Gaines attended the University of Houston where she earned a Bachelor of Science in sport administration.