The word ‘prior-art’ is of two different meaningful words, which are ‘Prior’ and ‘Art.’ The term prior means “existing knowledge” and art refers to the “collection, presentation, and documentation of the precious information.” Thus from a layman perspective, we can define that Prior-Art search is the act of collecting, searching, presenting, and documenting the available information before a specific point of time.
Well, the Prior-Art search process is nothing related to the paintings and is scientific in nature. But we can say that it is a system of both artistic and experimental approaches. The scientific method helps you to understand the technical elements of the searching subject. On the other hand, artistic advancement is necessary to document, collect, and represent the required information comprehensively and convincingly.
Different Types of Prior-Art Search
All varieties of patent searches are similar in some way or the other when the users try to search for the pertaining document in question. But the approach and techniques to search remain different from each other according to the objectives of the search. The main aim of searching for information from various points of view and angles is either technical or legal. From a technical perspective, this search assists the invention to be more unique, compelling, novel, non-obvious, and useful. While from a legal standpoint, it makes sure about the freedom to perform for the services or products in question. The different types of Prior-Art Search are as follows.
- Patent Search
This is the most common type of search that is applied in the patent arena to decide if the invention under progress can be within the subject matter of the patent. The search is done when a patent application is submitted to determine its novelty, usefulness, and non-obviousness.
- State of the Art search
State of the art search is an extension to a patentability search, where the search is conducted not only on the existing patent art in the domain but also on all types of research publications and other R&D that are relevant to the domain.
The search is carried out to decide if there are a large number of patent activities going on in that particular sector. Also, State of the art search is conducted to solve a meticulous problem, determine what the competitors are up to, and to acquire the license in that technology.
- Validity Search
Validity searches are generally applied by the individuals or companies to decide if there is a way to invalidate any other patent of similar nature. The user searches for the previously printed publications or issued patents. The user could also look for the public knowledge regarding the invention, fraud, technical errors, or any other reasons for which the formerly issued patent got canceled or declared as invalid. Also, validity search determines if the unexpired patent is still enforceable or valid. Unlike other pursuits, this Prior-Art search is employed after the patent is issued to a specific inventor. It is done by the infringing entity, or by the patent owner or an individual that includes a financial stake in the patent to recognize the patent validity.
Too ls And Sources For Carrying Out Prior-Art Search
The necessary tools and sources for carrying out Prior-Art searches are stated as below.
- Patent searches can be executed online. The US Patent and Trademark Office offer an online database that can be accessed by anyone without any charges.
- The search should be done by implementing the phrases and the keywords that will describe your invention. Always try to select the common phrases for describing the function, effect, structure, end product, and use. The result will display all the numbers and titles of the patent relevant to your keywords.
- The patents published before 1976 can be found out just by putting in the number. Unless the user knows the right patent number, the search will not be possible. Also, ensure to check out other referred patents before leaving the table.
- The user could also take a quick look at one of the 87 libraries of Patent and Trademark Depositories for a comprehensive and useful result.
Searching Publications/Patents From Various Other Sources
There are many databases for private and public use that indexes the forms of patent copies from numerous jurisdictions. Patent authorities generally maintain public databases all across the globe. Private databases are organized by private sectors. The user can also subscribe annually, monthly, or weekly plans to some paid databases preserved by the corporate companies.
It is advisable to carry out the search by yourself or engage a professional patent search service to execute it before beginning the patent process. Based on the research of the previous search, the features of the invention can be recognized clearly and helps to decide under which jurisdiction the patent should be filed.
Significance Of Prior-Art Search
The search patent comes with numerous benefits, out of which some of the most important ones are as follows.
- A prior art search allows you to know if your invention fits the patentability criteria. This can help you decide if you should invest time and money on going ahead with the patent process. The Research and Development centers then utilize the budgets for IP wisely.
- The Prior-Art search assists in the identification of the nearest prior-arts. This can define the protection scope in the claiming process of the patent.
- Prior-Art searches can even lead to the drop in the time of prosecution due to the presence of lesser claim amendments and office actions.
- It acts like a due diligence service that can decrease the rejection risk of the patent application.
Now that we are at the end of this write-up, we can conclude that the Prior-Art search is vital and plays an indispensable part in the granting process of the patents. It should never be neglected nor overlooked as it is the most crucial document that will persuade the researcher to believe that your discovery is unique, useful, novel, and will cause a massive benefit to society. It will also prove that your invention includes intelligent human involvement and not a copy of the pre patented inventions.