Prior Art Search Attorney

Experienced Prior Art Search Attorney Helping Clients Through
the Patent Process Across The United States

If you want to ensure your invention is unique, a prior art search attorney is vital. Conducting a thorough prior art search can be complex. Let our experts at Thompson Patent Law help you identify existing patents and secure your intellectual property rights.

About this service


If you have had a great idea or invented something, you want to make sure that you hold the rights to that idea or invention. The way to go about getting protection for your rights as a creator is to get a patent. There are many steps involved in the patent application process, and these steps can be complicated and time-consuming.  You want to focus on your new idea—developing, marketing, and branding—and don’t want to spend hours, days, or weeks struggling trying to figure out how to write a patent application.  Our experienced patent preparation experts at Thompson Patent Law can help guide you through the process and take the burden off of your shoulders.  Call our office today at (512) 649-1046.

How Do I Know if My Idea Qualifies for a Patent?

The U.S. Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO) has defined 5 qualifications for subject matter to be patentable. The first is that the item or idea falls under the U.S. Congress‘s definition of what is patentable. This includes any “new and useful” process, machine, manufactured item, or composition of matter. It does not include any natural processes. So, for example, you could not patent gravity. Another qualification is that the invention must be new or novel. It must also show utility—in other words, it must be useful. Furthermore, the invention must be “non-obvious.” This means that the invention cannot be the next logical step from something that is already patented. This question of “non-obviousness” is often where there is a lot of back-and-forth between the USPTO and the applicant. You will start to lose your rights to patent your invention if the idea is publicly disclosed or commercialized in any way.

What Types of Patents Are There?

Utility patents are the most common and cover methods, processes, and apparatus (machines).  Design patents cover decorative designs that do not have a physical function beyond ornamentation, such as artwork, a fabric or wallpaper pattern, or a logo design. Design patents are sometimes obtained in addition to a utility patent if there are ornamental aspects of the patented item that need protection in addition to its function.  Utility patents expire 20 years from their earliest applicable priority date.  Design patents expire 15 years after they are issued by the U.S. Patent Office.

How Do I Know if My Idea or Invention has Already Been Patented by Someone Else?

One of the most important steps early in the patent preparation process is to determine that your idea or invention is truly “new or novel,” that someone else hasn’t already patented an idea similar to or the same as yours, and that your patent application passes the test of non-obviousness.  We accomplish this, in part, by conducting a prior art search (or patentability search), which seeks out any publicly-available documents, called “prior art,” to determine that your idea or invention is different enough from any other patented ideas or inventions and that your subject matter is not the next logical step in a process that has already been patented (the non-obviousness test). Conducting a patent search is an exceptionally detail-oriented task and calls for expert judgment in almost every case. Without the benefit of an expert who knows how to correctly handle legal questions of obviousness, inventors take expensive and unnecessary risks when they decide whether or not to file for a patent.  Let one of our accomplished patent experts help you with the process. 

Is it Worth It to Hire a Patent Preparation Attorney?

Preparing to file for a patent application requires excellent research, experience, judgment, and time. If you are not well-versed in the laws and regulations surrounding the granting of patents, you may miss steps that put your patent application in jeopardy. You need to protect your great idea and invention before someone copies it. The knowledge and experience of a licensed patent attorney can help put you on the road to success.

why our clients choose thompson patent law

Craige and his team did a fantastic job with my provisional patent application. He asked all the right questions to help me flesh out my idea, and helped me to expand it into areas I never would’ve considered. I highly recommend reading his book, and working with Thompson Patent Law.

Richard Connell

Psychologist at Connell & Associates, BHS

That critical translation from the technical engineer into the legal minds in the legal language and legal experience. And that handoff is really, really critical and that’s one of the things that I absolutely love about working with you guys.

Scott Lapierre

Science & Engineering Innovation and Implementation Director

If you have an idea that is innovative you better get the protections in place, and also you guided me in that… Its so simple the way you’re really orchestrating the process. I didn’t have that much experience but I feel throughout this entire trip that we’ve been on, I’ve gained so much experience from it, that I can help others guide them to you.

Steve Graybill

Founder & CEO at MÜLIBEX

Receiving the Patent Certificate Award from the USPTO was one of the greatest feelings in the world! Thank you and your team for facilitating such an incredible victory that helps us protect our IP.

Dommonic Nelson

Dommonic Nelson

Intercon USA 2021 Top 50 Tech Visionary

I’ve had a very good experience working with Thompson law Offices over the past couple of years. They are very good at what they do. Currently they’ve obtained a patent for me in a reasonable time frame, and are pursuing yet another one. Not only are they very good, but they are cognizant of the financial aspects of this process, always taking into consideration the cost to their customers. I wouldn’t hesitate to continue to work with them on future projects.

Byron Tietjen

InertiaCore Training Systems

Craige Thompson is a top-notch intellectual property attorney. I would choose him to represent me if I ever needed a patent. I have no hesitation to refer my friends, family, and clients to him for IP work. He’s easy to work with, has a good personality, a good bed-side manner, and he’s extremely good in his skills. Five-Stars!

Dana Palmer

Divorce & Family Lawyer

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