When you think you have a patented idea, before you begin the patent process, you should answer these few questions:
Once you think you have a unique idea, you can begin the process of seaching products that have been patented to make sure your idea has not already been designed, developed or submitted and not yet approved.
See "Tutorials" for more search guidance.
Enter your keyword(s) in the search tool box. Click "search", scan the resulting classification's Class Schemes (class schedules) to determine the most relevant to your invention.
Under the "Find it Fast" section, click the "Patents" tab and select "Patent Public Search" to open the Patent Public Search database
Pay close attention to the additional drawings pages, the specification and especially the claims. References cited may lead you to additional relevant patents.
a. Supplement the search using keywords to find documents that may not have been well classified. Keywords also allow you to use truncation, plurals, and quotation marks for more precise searching.
b. Broaden the search with U.S. Patent Classification (USPC). The USPC system was the primary means of classification until it was discontinued in 2015.
c. Search foreign patents and published patent applications using the CPC classification. Re-run the search using Espacenet (https://worldwide.espacenet.com), the European Patent Office's Worldwide patent database of over 90 million patent publications.
d. Search non-patent literature. NPL consists of books, journals, websites, technical catalogs, conference proceedings, and more. Patent and Trademark Resource Center staff can help with this search, or you may wish to consult a subject librarian who specializes in your field.
e. Hire a registered patent attorney or patent agent to review the search. Conducting a preliminary search prepares you to discuss your invention with a patent professional, and can save you time and money that would otherwise be spent covering patent basics. To search for a registered patent attorney or agent, consult the USPTO's online roster at https://oedci.uspto.gov.
Information found at - https://www.uspto.gov/products/library/ptdl/services/step7.jsp
There are a variety of tutorials that will help in your ultimate goal of obtaining a patent.
Cooperative Patent Classification System/CPC - The new system, CPC, was developed jointly by the European Patent Office and the United States Patent and Trademark Office to harmonize the exchange of works between the two organizations and patent searching in general. The system is based on the IPC (International Patent Classification) and the ECLC (European Classification). The video gives you the history of the CPC and shows the different options when searching for a patent.