I had an idea for an invention at work, briefly discussed it with collegues and my boss said "write it up and send it to so-and-so" - which I'm about to do. Maybe what I invented is already SOTA somewhere but none of us at the office had ever seen such a thing as my idea and we probably would know.

I'm in Germany, local law says I'm obliged to report any invention stemming from my work to my employer, that I'm entitled to be named as inventor and that either my employer patents and uses the invention (and pays me) or releases the invention so I can patent it and earn money myself.

So I'm about to write up what my idea looks like as completely as possible (the law also says that the invention has to be "finished", though I'm not sure what this means exactly). I looked around the internet and found a sort of short boilerplate-header by some university that they use for their scientists to report inventions so I know what information to include.

My known knowns are a basic outline of the law as can be found online

My known unknown is wether my invention is patentable, I'm reasonable sure that it's not SOTA and not trivial but I'm not a patent lawyer and did not do a thorough research.
My other known unknown is wether I actually had a good idea that my company wants to build and market - that's for so-and-so, to whom I should report the invention, to decide.

What are my unknown unknowns, what else should I be aware of? Has someone here gone through the process and can share some insights? l

1 Answer 1


Before you start your patent search, here's some tips for you for an an effective patent searching.

  1. Brainstorm on terms that describe the invention.

  2. Search for relevant terms related to the subject matter.

  3. Verify The relevancy of terms retrieved.

  4. Establish the scope of the relevant classifications to distiguish the most relevant from the least relevent.

  5. Using the search terms, retreive and review patent issued, published patent applications and patent documents.

Online database like https://www.patexia.com/ip-research allows you to search for patents using different criteria and they got visualization to help you analyze the results.

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