I am working on a home design patent with interlocking pieces, searched US patents and nothing came up not even similar; zero results, I was on Alibaba today looking around for an Amazon business and thought why don't I do a search, something similar came back in the shape but they were using completely different material with completely different ways of locking the pieces together, will I be able to get a u.s. patent on my project?

  • The answer is simple: it depends on the exact specifics. But from what you're saying it sounds possible to get one, if done correctly.
    – user18033
    Dec 6, 2020 at 10:19
  • Thank You so much! Dec 6, 2020 at 12:33
  • When someone says they did a patent search and found "absolutely nothing", my experience is that they didn't do a very good search. This is very common. A factor I've seen and experienced myself is that it can be hard to find something you would rather not find. The words you use to describe it may not be the words others use. Do not tell the world more specifics. I took a stab at what you might be thinking - patents.google.com/patent/US8113840B2 and pinterest.com/mohhad96/interlocking. As you discovered with Alibaba, searching for prior art is not just searching patents.
    – George White
    Dec 6, 2020 at 19:18
  • 1
    George White’s comment is important. You must search broadly with few terms at first. Also, use alternative terms as the patents might not use your nomenclature for their invention.
    – Eric S
    Dec 7, 2020 at 15:25

1 Answer 1


To expand on DonQuiKong's comment, the answer is that you very well might be able to get a patent, but it isn't guaranteed. What you found on Alibaba represents prior art. For you to obtain a patent, your invention needs to be useful, novel and non-obvious. Useful is usually a given. Novel generally means it is different from any prior art. Non-obvious means that given the prior art the invention wouldn't be an obvious step from the prior art for someone skilled in the field. Since you can't tell us the specifics of your invention without jeopardizing its patentability. the best advice I can provide it to hire an actual patent attorney or agent. Only they can evaluate the patentability of your invention.

It is good that you did a patent search, but you need to search broader than just US patents. While another country's patent wouldn't keep you from manufacturing or selling in the US, it could prevent you gaining a US patent. In addition, it is very challenging for most people to do an effective patent search since you need to understand claim language to fully understand what is being patented. Many patent attorneys hire trained patent librarians to do prior art searches. Since you found a product that is similar, I would suggest searching for any patents associated with that product including all the patents assigned to the product's manufacturer. If you find an associated patent, then search all the patent's citations for other relevant patents. This can be an iterative process.

  • Thank you so much for your feedback! It really helps to get perspective. Dec 13, 2020 at 3:14
  • If you find the answer acceptable, you can accept it by clicking on the check mark.
    – Eric S
    Dec 13, 2020 at 13:20

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