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Prior Art Searching

Jim Ruttler, Patent Attorney

Posted Monday, October 29, 2007 by Jim Ruttler

Prior to filing a patent application for an invention, it is important to conduct a prior art search to determine whether an invention is new. The relevant sources of prior art include issued patents, pending patent applications, foreign issued patents, foreign patent applications, and any other non-publication reference. Non-publication references include articles, existing products, theses, websites, textbooks, press releases, advertisements and other publications.

Although a prior art search is not required, it is good practice because an examiner will be conducting a prior art search during examination. Furthermore, an issued patent is subject to being invalidated with prior art by the patent office or by a court of law. Thus, knowing whether an invention is new before filing a patent application can save time and resources and can help focus the application on its most innovative aspects.

US Patent Office
Canadian Patent Office
Japanese Patent Office
European Patent Office
International Patent Applications

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