Yes - you can do your own patent searching. There are today plenty of patent search engines to help you do just that. There are any number of ways for you to do this and I hope you find the information here useful.
Patent searching yourself is very doable. To be perfectly honest though it can be tedious if you have never done it before and are not excited about reading through many dense patents. Your other option of course is to hire a patent search firm to do it for you and save your time.
On this site I will try to explain both options for you so you can make the best decision.
This page is about the specific issue of where to search. In other words it is a list of search resources. I also have articles on the important subject of how to actually use some of these resources. I will also display my prejudices about which of these engines are the most useful. I would appreciate any feedback from readers regarding their views on the best ones.
The most familiar service to many can be found at the patent search engines of the UPTO. There are many other good search resources, and many of them are free. they only consume your time!
List below are some other options. Again - if any readers have better ones to suggest please let me know.
Patent Search Engines
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Getting a US Patent Search
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The Business of Patents Home Page
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Mike Ervin - Cost Effective Small Business Patent Protection.
If you have any questions on on this site - please feel free to contact me.