Prior Art Search
One of the first steps in the patent process is a search of previous technology in order to check if the idea, or something similar to it, has already been patented. In order to do this prior arts search properly, one must have expertise in patent law and an extensive technical background. Even with these qualifications, a thorough search still requires a great deal of time. There are over seven million patents in the United States alone, along with even greater number of current and abandoned patent applications. All of this material must be taken into account during a prior arts search.