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Although patent numbers are often displayed in products or packaging, patent searchers will also encounter patent numbers regularly as they investigate "non-patent" literature, such as scientific and technical reports. Patent numbers are also commonly available and accessible when gathering information about products available for sale or use in industry.
A good strategy for an inventor trying to determine likely markets for his or her invention includes carefully investigating products similar to one's own invention that already exist. Determine differences and similarities between these and your own product. Be sure to note any and all patent numbers shown on the product, its packaging, a manufacturer's website, or on any literature describing these items.
Below is a short video demonstration of a patent number search in the USPTO PatFT database.
When accessing a patent using the patent number, the final result of this search will be a display of patent information. Part of the patent document is the "Current CPC Class", which lists the classifications of the patent. These will help to identify additional patents that are closely related through classification searching.