Researching Your Ideas
are ongoing. Conducting a search on an inventor's name will reveal
all of the patents for that particular individual.
If you know the name of an inventor who has
worked on a particular technology, conducting a
search on his or her name may be helpful.
Another item to search is the name of a particular assignee (or
company name). If the subject technology of the search is currently
manufactured by a particular company, searching the assignee's
name will reveal patents (if any) that may be relevant. For example,
suppose the invention is for a shoe, searching on Nike as the assignee
will result in a listing of all the patents owned by Nike.
Company names are useful to include in a search.
A Brief Word about
Prototyping the Invention
Once the literature search has been completed, the inventor
should have a good idea of how others have attempted to solve the
problem. Alternative solutions described in the references are useful
for designing and prototyping an invention. If a reference is found
that is on-point with the original invention, ways to design around
that which was disclosed should be considered. The design and fabri-
cation of the invention should be recorded in the laboratory note-
book in such a way that someone else working on the same problem
can reproduce the work. Ideally, making the invention using the
same materials that a manufacturer will use to make the final product
is best. However, if funds are limited or the materials are not readily
available, the invention may be prototyped using low-cost substitu-

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