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Are there any companies that assist in pre-patent research? I have Googled this extensively and have only found The Davis Group, whose initial fees for a prototype and market research exceed $20,000.00.

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There probably are companies for that, but I think a patent search should be carried out by whoever is filing the patent The one exception being if that person if totally tech-phobic (in case the patent is a non technology related), in which case they need to have someone who understands the patent, adn can Google, help them with the search. Lawyers are going to be very expensive and you know your idea much better than them so yo are paying them to learn from you and then they are just going to go to Google and locate relevant patents. Writing up the patent filings is a totally different. –  Peter Grill Oct 11 '12 at 3:11
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First of all the term pre-patent research is vague to me. I can see two main meanings of the term: 1) research as to whether your product would be feasible from a technical or economical pojnt o view and 2) research as to whether your invention would be deemed to be patentable. Since the first is just a feasability reasearch - and although you mention such an example in your question - I assume that this is not meant by the term 'pre-patent research, because in principle the word patent then would be misplaced. This thus leaves the meaning of research into the patentability. Again two possibilities are included herein: 1) whether the invention fulfills thecriteria of USC 101: is it patent-eleigible; and 2) whether the invention fulfills the criteria of USC 102 and 103: is it novel and not obvious? For an answer to the first question you should get legal advice from a patent attorney. For an answer to the second question you need a patent information specialist to provide a prior art search and maybe a patentagent or patent attorney to interpret the results of such a search. Companies that provide patent searches are abundant, as well as in the USA as abroad (e.g. India). I would suggest to contact a patent agent or patent searcher to find a reliable one.

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