Frequently Asked Questions

Where are your search analysts located?

All our search analysts are employees of Cardinal and are located in the United States.  While some are located in Evanston, IL, many are spread out across the country.

Do clients have to sign a contract?

For our patent and trademark searches, contracts are not required.  Cardinal does offer bulk searching subscription options that provide substantial discounts.  For those options, a contract is provided.   Contracts are also required for Cardinal’s managed docketing services.

Can you give me an opinion with the search?

Cardinal is not a law firm and does not provide legal opinions.  We can however provide analysis (claim charts) where we map claim elements to technical descriptions contained in found references for your review.

We want to search in a particular area. Do you have a conflict that would prevent you from working with us?

Cardinal has search analysts in all technical areas.  Cardinal is not a law firm, and therefore does not have legal conflicts of interest preventing us from working with you.  Cardinal does shield employees from various projects when appropriate.

Can you describe the process for searches at Cardinal?

    1. You, (the client) send information to your account manager or through the website about what you would like searched.
    2. The Account Manager will compile the information for our Search Docket Administrator staff, who will then assign it to a Project Manager with the appropriate background for your search.
    3. The Project Manager will review the information, perform a preliminary review to assess the complexity of the request, and provide you with a quote and timeline to complete the search.
    4. If there are any questions, the Project Manager will be in touch with you to clarify. Otherwise, we will conduct the search after you have given us approval.
    5. The Project Manager will then assign the search to a search analyst and a senior approving official.  The search analyst will be the primary searcher on the project.  The search approving official will perform a supplemental search and a quality control on the search analyst’s work.
    6. After the search has been reviewed by the search approving official, the Project Manager will conduct a final quality control review and supplemental search.
    7. Once the Project Manager has completed their review, the Project Manager will send the results via an email and a PDF of the report along with a link to our secure website to view the results online.

How do you deliver your search result and what does the report look like?

We deliver our search results via email with PDF attachments and links to our IPDashboard portal.  For patentability, FTO/clearance/infringement, and invalidity search reports please see the following video:  For Patentwatch, landscape, and many collection searches we generally deliver results using our Landscape Viewer interface described here:

I want some of my colleagues to have access to the results as well. How do I do that?

Simply provide us with your colleagues’ email address and we will provide them access to the results of your choosing.

What databases do you use?

For a complete listing of the databases we have access to, please visit:

How do you do your searching? Do you do classification searching?

Various search techniques are used, depending on the search. We typically conduct both keyword and classification searching, plus forward and backward citation searching. This depends on the particular search and budget.

Do you have an NDA form (or) will you sign our form?

While we do keep all client requests and information confidential as a policy, we are also more than happy to sign an NDA.  We can send you our standard NDA form.  Or, if you prefer, we can review your form and sign if acceptable to our policies.

Do you do chemical structure searches?

Yes, we perform a high volume of structure searches; we use the STN database.

Do you do biotech sequence searches?

Yes, we perform a large number of sequence searches; we use the GenomeQuest database.

Do you do searching in foreign languages?

Yes, here is a link to our foreign language capabilities:  Please note capabilities will depend on the technology area and search type, so please reach out to your Account Manager to inquire.

What kind of the background do your search analysts have?

Many of our search analysts are patent attorneys, patent agents, and former USPTO examiners. All our search analysts have strong technical backgrounds and many have advanced degrees and extensive industry experience.

Can you provide bios of your search analysts and databases you use?

Yes, we can. Upon request we will send you bios of the searchers specific to the area of interest along with the proposed databases.

Do you guarantee your search results to be all-encompassing (or something similar)? Another firm said they can guarantee their search will find all relevant art.

Unfortunately, no search provider can guarantee their search will find all the relevant art and you should be very skeptical of a search firm promising such a result.  At Cardinal, we have the most experience, and access to the most databases in the industry. providing us the best chance of finding relevant references.  Also, unlike other providers, we stand behind our work and provide free supplemental searching if an issue arises with a particular search.

If I’m not satisfied with the results of my search/have questions, what do I do?

Contact your Account Manager immediately so we can identify the issues and work to correct the dissatisfaction.

How do you price searches?

We price searches in one of two ways.
(1) Our preferred method is to take a look at your information, (for patentability -the invention disclosure or detailed description, for clearance – the product description; for invalidity – the patent number) and then give you a firm quote based on what we feel it would cost to perform a quality search.


(2) If you have a budget in mind, we can almost always find a way to work within that budget, by tailoring the scope of the search. However, please keep in mind that there is always a tradeoff between the budget and the scope of the search.

How much is a design patent search?

The cost of design patent searches varies widely depending on the actual design and the chosen jurisdictions .  As such, we do not have ballpark estimates for design patent searching.  To request a search, please send the desired scope, a copy of the design, as well an explanation of the design if it is not readily apparent.  A Project Manager will then conduct an initial review of the material to determine the cost of the search.

Can you provide results the same or next day?

Some searches take more than one business day to complete (i.e. clearance or invalidity).  Whether we are able to complete a rush search depends on the type of search, our searcher availability, and desired turnaround.  Please reach out via our website or contact your account manager and we will let you know our current capabilities to accommodate your requested time frame.

Do you offer bulk discounts?

Yes.  We would be more than happy to set up a call to discuss bulk pricing.

How long will it take for a Project Manager to get back to me?

Depending on when we receive the information from you, they will normally get back to you in one business day. If we receive the information in the morning, they could get back to you in the afternoon. Or if we receive your information for the request in the afternoon, they will most likely get back to you the following morning.

Can I speak with a Project Manager about this? It’s a little complex.

Certainly.  However, we do prefer to have the Project Manager review the material and technology beforehand. We ask that you send us a brief description so the Project Manager can review it, that way the Project Manager can run a preliminary search and see how much art is out there. Once this is done, the Project Manager can contact with you with any further questions.

What’s the difference between your various levels of invalidity search services?

Standard Invalidity Searches cover US & foreign, patents, published applications and non-patent literature.

Premium Invalidity Searches cover the same scope as the standard search, but include several valuable additions.  First, the premium search includes two searchers on the case.  One searcher is dedicated to patent literature and the other is dedicated to non-patent literature.  A librarian will also be assigned to the case to handpick additional NPL resources for the searcher to look through.  We also include claim mapping at this level.

Redbird Invalidity Searches are considered our “scorch the earth” option.  Redbird searches include 2 rounds of premium searching and the search team collaborates frequently with clients during the process.  We’ll have a meeting before the search begins and then another meeting after the first round of searching is complete. We’ll discuss the results, refine the search scope, and perform a second round of searching.  Real-time results are also available with this option.

Where are your paralegals located?

All our paralegals are employees of Cardinal and are located in the United States.  While some are located in Evanston, IL, many are spread out across the country.

What docketing platforms do you docket on?

Cardinal has dedicated docketing professionals on most major platforms.  We would be happy to discuss your platform and whether our services would be a good fit for your needs.  Please reach out to us via phone, website or contact your account manager.