2) Hire a patent attorney to conduct a novelty search. After youâ€™ve researched whether or not your product is patentable, there is still more research to be done. â€œJust because you donâ€™t see it on the market doesnâ€™t mean that somebody hasnâ€™t already patented it,â€ says Evans. Patents can be expensive and time consuming. It can take 18 months to more than two years before you hear back from the patent office. A patent firm can do a more thorough search of the patent office than you can do on your own. â€œA lot of times, people do their own searches but donâ€™t know how to interpret the obvious standard.â€ There are certain things attorneys know that are obvious, she says. In addition, a patent attorney can use the same database as the patent examiner and search foreign references to patents, published applications, patents, and abandoned patents. A search by a patent attorney can range anywhere from $500 to $2,000. There are also companies that offer extremely low rates for online searches.