To search for patents by "topic":
- Search USPTO Granted and Application Databases by keyword
- Note the classes/subsclasses for these patents
Classes/subclasses for the patent are found on it's front page next to "U.S. Cl." (Example: 273/428)
- Look up the classes/subclasses in the Manual of Classification
- Read the definitions and explore around that classification area
View the patents and applications for the appropriate classes/subclasses
- Look for the specific component that you are improving/creating, not the whole product.
- Consider what the component is, not what it's used for.
- "Straddle seat" rather than a "bicycle seat"
- Don't forget your engineering basics! Consider how the component works.
- "Refrigeration unit employing gas-liquid contact" rather than an "air-conditioner"
Click on the red P icon to see patents in that category; click on the blue A icon to see applications in that category.
Do these patents give you other possibilities for the class/subclass? If so, repeat steps 3-5.