Examine individual patents to determine the originality of your invention.
- Click on the red P icon to the left of the blue subclass number 163. This will bring up a list of all the U.S. Patents in that particular classification code, in this case more than 1,300 patents. (You can also click on the A icon to bring up a list of published applications in a particular class.) All years have been searched, and the list displays the most recent patents first.
- Get a preliminary feel for the group by browsing the titles that look like they might describe your invention. Keep in mind that the titles are often short and not overly descriptive. Looking at the patent as a whole is the only way to really decide whether or not the invention is similar to your own. If you conclude that this is indeed the correct classification code, you must examine all the patents to determine if your invention is original.
- To view the patent, click on the patent number. If the patent was issued after 1976 you may view the full text, without images.
- If you want to see the full image of any patent from 1790 to the present, which includes drawings, you will need a specialized TIFF viewer. Click on the "Help" button at the top of the search results page and then click on the topic "How to Access Patent Full-page Images" to get complete instructions on downloading the free software.
- Be sure to look at the drawings and claims sections of individual patents. These are two quick ways to determine the originality of your invention.
- Also, make note of the references cited. Listed are other patents that were thought to be closely related to the patented item.
- Do this for each class/subclass combination that relates to the invention.