A few resources to help you determine the viability of your idea.
• Inventing for Dummies, 2004 (Bird and Bird). Approximately $15 on Amazon.
• The Independent Inventor’s Handbook, 2009 (Foreman and Gilbert). Approximately $14 on Amazon.
• Google Patents – A free resource that is perhaps the best free search tool available. It doesn’t replace a professional researcher, but you should use this site frequently as you develop or need ideas.
• Google – Do a general search of your idea to determine whether non-patent publications or information describe or show your idea.
• USPTO – The USPTO’s website is full of great information and allows you free searches on U.S. patents and applications.
• Espacenet – This free resource is not well known here in the U.S. but it has two big advantages:
• Anyone can download PDF files of most of the world’s patents and patent applications
• It displays publications related to each other regardless of the filing country.