What is a patent search?

  • A patent search is a search of issued patents and published patent applications for inventions that might be considered important “prior art” references when applying for a patent.
  • The prior art is anything in the public domain, patented or not patented, that may determine whether an invention is novel or not.
  • A patent searcher reviews the drawings and text of patents and patent applications to find inventions that may be similar to an inventor’s new invention.
  • The patent searcher uses the patent classification system, in addition to keyword searching, to find relevant patents.
  • Planet Patent also uses cutting edge latent semantic analysis (LSA) search technology to conceptually search your invention. (LSA may be included with your search price or for an extra fee on some searches).

What types of patent searches are available?

Novelty, collection, infringement (also known as non-infringement), right-to-use (also known as freedom to operate), state-of-the-art, and validity (also known as invalidity).

Click here to see our Patent Search Types & Prices page for more information.

What technology areas do you specialize in?

We specialize in aerospace, business method, chemical, electrical, genetic, mechanical, medical and software patent searches.

What are the firsts step to start a Planet Patent search?

Step 1: Submit the Confidentiality Agreement.

Step 2: Submit the Invention Disclosure.

Step 3: We send you a firm cost quote for your review.

Step 4: If you accept the quote complete the order with your secure payment online or offline.

Online Payment Options

Offline Payment Options

What does a patent novelty search include?

  • A patent search report listing patents related to your invention in order of more relevant to less relevant.
  • PDF copies of cited patents. Patent search reports and PDF copies of cited patents are sent via e-mail. A printed hard copy of the patent search report and cited documents are also available upon request for an extra fee. CD copies of the search report and cited documents are available upon request for no extra charge.
  • A US Patent Office Examiner recommended field of search for the new invention is available upon request for no extra charge.

How long does a patent search take to complete?

A patent search takes 1 to 2 weeks to complete after receiving drawings and a written explanation of your invention.

What information about my invention should I include?

  • Drawings, photos, and text explaining how your invention works.
  • Information that explains the industry or context in which your invention is used.
  • Company names of your known competitors or potential licensors.

How much does a patent search cost?

A patent novelty search for a mechanical invention costs $400. This price is for mechanical inventions of average complexity. See below for more information.*

Other types of patent searches are available, see our Patent Search Types & Prices page for more information.

The hourly patent search rates: $100 an hour (currency is U.S. dollars).

What are the payment options?

We accept money orders, checks, Visa, MasterCard, Discover, and PayPal.™ We also use a secure shopping cart for online orders.

Online Payment Options

Offline Payment Options

Why do a patent search? – 11 reasons why

  1. A patent search avoids spending time and money on an invention that has already been invented.
  2. A patent search may help assess the patentability of an invention before investing in an expensive patent application process.
  3. A patent search helps determine if a company’s new product under development will infringe on any patents that are in force, avoiding an expensive patent infringement lawsuit.
  4. A patent search may find opportunities to improve on existing technology “gaps.”
  5. A patent search may help discover information on competitors or aid in identifying potential partners.
  6. A patent search helps assess the novelty of an invention before the US Patent and Trademark Office examines the patent application. (A US patent application takes on average 2-3 years for the US Patent and Trademark Office to examine it.)
  7. A patent search may help invalidate a competitor’s patent or patents.
  8. A patent search may help determine the value or validity of a patent before purchasing, selling or licensing it.
  9. A patent search may reveal trends in certain technology areas.
  10. A patent search may uncover expired patents on inventions that are in then in the public domain and therefore can be used without paying anyone a royalty.
  11. A patent search may provide information to assess the strength of a company’s patent portfolio.


Invention Disclosure Notice: Please do NOT disclose information about your invention in your first inquiry. Planet Patent will provide you with a Confidentiality Agreement before you disclose information about your invention if you require such a document.

Privacy Notice: Planet Patent does not share or disclose customer information or any information submitted on this website.

If you still have questions contact us at:

Telephone Number:

Toll Free: 1-866-U-INVENT (1-866-846-8368)
For international calls: 011-866-846-8368

E-mail Address:


Fax Number:

1-866-846-8368 (Make Voice Call Before Faxing)

Postal Address:

16 Pebble Pl
Fredericksburg, VA 22405 USA