Normally, you as inventor receive the search results from your patent attorney, together with a written opinion. Most of the time these results and the appending written opinion are very negative. Here is an exemplary case of an excerpt out of a written opinion sent by a patent examiner:
So, you have spend several thousands of Euros to get there, you have waited about half a year or longer wherein you have not heard a thing and then, this destroying, negative opinion comes out. You may become quite emotional about this! But before you want to seriously hurt your patent attorney, please consider the following:
If you want the broadest protection possible, would it be optimal if the claims were so restricted that there was not found any relevant state of the art?
If you are not clear which direction the innovation is going to be developed in detail, would it than be optimal if the claims were so restricted that it was hardly possible to tweak them?
Thus, in most cases a negative written opinion is positive news!
I wish you happy inventing,
Hendrik de Lange
European and Dutch patent attorney
tel +31 (0) 64 81 74 686