One thing I have learned in doing so much research about inventing and invention is that it is always worth doing a prior art/patent search even if you don’t intend filing a patent. Come up with a list of keywords for how someone might search for the invention idea and make sure you take into account that even different English speaking countries call things different names. Take for example a project I recently did to come up with novelty sweet ideas, I needed to take into account that what we call sweets in the UK, people in the US will call candy.
Once you have a few keywords to start with you can just a Google Image Search, this makes it nice and easy to just scan through and see if there is anything currently on the market like your idea. After you have done this also do a Google Product Search and basic Google search. Doing these preliminary searches may immediately eliminate some ideas or let you know if its worth investigating further and starting a patent search. I am just a novice at patent searches but have found some really useful resources and tutorials below.
Patent Search Online Websites
Patent Searching Video Tutorials
I found these really useful videos which give some great tips on patent searching which are well worth watching.