Intellectual property (IP) is defined as the creation of the mind, such as inventions; ideas;literary and artistic works; designs; and symbols, names and images. IP allows either the creator or an entity, a person or organization, certain exclusive rights to use its own plans, ideas, or other intangible assets without the worry of competition, at least for a specific period of time. These rights can include copyrights, patents, trademarks, and trade secrets. While patent search information is given below, an exhaustive search should be done using a patent attorney. You can and should however do a preliminary patent search to better understand potential competitions and opportunities.
Another area of research to consider is legal research to see if there are any known issues in the public arena. See the Databases section for more information.
For more information about Copyright, see the video below or click on this site.
Patent searching is a highly complex process. Patents will describe a technology or product while trying to also disguise it. For example, a clothing zipper is called a "clothing fastening device." So while you may do preliminary patent searching, using companies, inventors to keywords that you know, a full and complete patent search requires the use of a patent attorney. You should however do a patent search to get more familiar with your area of interest.