Jeffrey Johnson is a legal writer with a focus on personal injury. He has worked on personal injury and sovereign immunity litigation in addition to experience in family, estate, and criminal law. He earned a J.D. from the University of Baltimore and has worked in legal offices and non-profits in Maryland, Texas, and North Carolina. He has also earned an MFA in screenwriting from Chapman Univer...

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UPDATED: Feb 20, 2013

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Discovering whether someone has infringed upon a patent is generally up to the patent holder. It is rarely the case that this information comes to a person without having taken the time to look. There are a few steps a patent holder can take in searching for possible infringement: 

Use Online Resources

A basic online search is probably the best form of discovery, and the least expensive.

Search engine databases allow you to create daily, weekly or as-it-happens email alerts and to search blogs on a patented product idea by providing key search terms. Some of them, such as Google, have their own patent database with over seven million patents online and an RSS feature to see new filings.

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Hire an Attorney

You can hire an attorney to do it for you – which is what many patent holders do. A patent attorney can take the time required to do complete searches – not only on the internet, but in the United State Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO) database or other databases as well.

Deciding which process, or a combination of the two, works best for you depends upon the complexity of your patent, the time you have to search and your general preference.