USPTO tool gives inventors an easy-to-use means for checking prior art

Your “Eureka!” moment is here. You are optimistic, but not sure, you have a novel invention idea that will be embraced by the public with the potential to be very profitable.

Now what?

It is possible for you to conduct your own prior art search, but it can be difficult. So the USPTO has developed the Inventor Search Assistant Tool (ISAT), a way to help demystify the patent process by sparing you from having to go through a patent search training program.

A machine learning system, the tool helps inventors get started with a prior art search by integrating multiple data sources (such as non-patent literature and foreign patents), and providing other useful information (such as cooperative patent classification and figures) into a single platform. It also has an easy-to-use reporting/sharing capability.

The application, in an early beta format, “is not intended to be a replacement of a professional search or other Boolean-based, publicly facing search tools that the USPTO is rolling out via Patents End-to-End,” said Scott Beliveau, branch chief of advanced analytics at the USPTO. “It’s an automated way meant to be a ‘starting point’ for a novelty-type search that an inventor could review or work with a regional office, attorney, or others.”

To use the tool:

  • Go to
  • Start by searching for either descriptive text or keywords of your invention, or search by a known USPTO application ID.
  • View the relevant documents and figures in the search results.
  • While viewing results, select each document of interest to save.
  • Click the Display Saved Results button to view all saved documents and export or print.

The Inventor Search Assistant Tool was developed in support of the Study of Underrepresented Classes Chasing Engineering and Science Success (SUCCESS) Act of 2018.

The USPTO wants your feedback about the software, in hopes that it can be a valuable part of an IP awareness toolkit for inventors. The link is For questions please email us at [email protected].