In Free Patent Search – Part 1, we discussed how to do an easy first pass search for a product idea on the Patent Office website.  The search was on the string: improved shovel and resulted in 33 issued patents since 1976.

In this post, Free Patent Search – Your Own Part 2, we are going to do an advanced search using class and subclass codes.

Let's select from the list of 33 patents what seems to be a relevant patent: 5,306,061 Shovel Device.

Click on this patent and you will see a description on the first page Current U.S. Class.”Listed to the right of that are 3 different class/subclass codes: 294/49, 209/419, 294/59.

USPTO uses class and subclass codes to define categories of products — another way to search out patents. Searching only on the string improved shovel will miss many patents that could be relevant but don't contain that text string. Searching on class/subclass codes will unearth lots more patents, some of which were already found, but many that weren't previously revealed.

At the top of the page, click on Advanced in red font. Search on the first class/subclass by entering in the query box: CCL/294/49 and click Search. This yields 112 more patents, many of which appear to have relevance. Doing separate searches on 209/419 and 294/59 yields 25 and 63 patents, respectively. So, we started with a listing of 33 patents and now have a total of nearly 233 by just digging into the class/subclass codes.

Stay tuned. In Part 3 we'll discuss what to do with your current 233 listings and how to dig into yet another list of patents.