After discovering that your product doesn’t exist in the marketplace, your next search should be the patent search. It is so important to protect your idea. It surprises me that individuals go on Shark Tank and tell the world about their product without protecting their invention.
The website, www.uspto.gov has a database of all patents that are issued or pending. You can always hire a patent attorney to do a search for you but they are quite expensive. The patent office has now begun using a different classification system to make the search easier. Here is the link that describes the process. http://www.uspto.gov/products/library/ptdl/services/step7.jsp.
If your search reveals that you have a novel idea, I recommend buying a book by Nolo called Patent it Yourself. It walks you through the patent steps and explains both the search as well as the different types of patents. If you have a friend that is a graphic designer, he might save you a little money by drawing up the sketches for you. I tried to do this myself but I didn’t have the time to learn the software. Even if you follow all the steps and you think the application is perfect, you will probably get a letter from the Patent Office explaining that you need to make some revisions. That’s ok, it is well worth the time.