Prior Art

Prior art (also known as state of the art, which also has other meanings, or background art), in most systems of patent law, constitutes all information that has been made available to the public in any form before a given date that might be relevant to a patent's claims of originality. If an invention has been described in the prior art, a patent on that invention is not valid.

Information kept secret, for instance, as a trade secret, is not usually prior art, provided that employees and others with access to the information are under a non-disclosure obligation. With such an obligation, the information is typically not regarded as prior art. Therefore, a patent may be granted on an invention, although someone else already knew of the invention. A person who used an invention in secret may in some jurisdictions be able to claim "prior user rights" and thereby gain the right to continue using the invention. As a special exception, earlier-filed and unpublished patent applications do qualify as prior art as of their filing date in certain circumstances.

In order to anticipate a claim, prior art is generally expected to provide a description sufficient to inform an average worker in the field (or the person skilled in the art) of some subject matter falling within the scope of the claim. Prior art must be available in some way to the public, and in many countries, the information needs to be recorded in a fixed form somehow. Prior art generally does not include unpublished work or mere conversations (though according to the European Patent Convention, oral disclosures also form prior art—see Article 54(2) EPC). It is disputed whether traditional knowledge (e.g., of medical properties of a certain plant) constitutes prior art.

Patents disclose to society how an invention is practiced, in return for the right (during a limited term) to exclude others from manufacturing, selling, offering for sale or using the patented invention without the patentee's permission. Patent offices deal with prior art searches in the context of the patent granting procedure.

Read more about Prior Art:  Usage in Litigation, Duty of Disclosure, Public Participation in Patent Examination

Other articles related to "prior art":

Peer-to-Patent - Criticisms
... with many bad patents does not involve the existence of prior art, but a definition by the patent office of "obviousness" that is too forgiving, and therefore allows obvious patents to be approved because they are ... who have the time and expertise to look for prior art will take their chances, waiting for the patent office to approve patents and then challenging the patents at the patent offices or in court ... Third parties who submit prior art during the patent application cannot argue in favor of that prior art during the prosecution of the patent (the discussion between the examiner and the applicant) ...
The Wright Brothers Patent War - Prior Art
... New Zealander Richard Pearse may have made a powered flight in a monoplane that included small ailerons as early as 1902, but his claims are controversial (and sometimes inconsistent), and, even by his own reports, his aircraft were not well controlled ... Robert Esnault-Pelterie, a Frenchman, built a Wright-style glider in 1904 that used ailerons in lieu of wing-warping ...
Prior Art - Public Participation in Patent Examination - Pending Patent Applications
... Public patent clarity the public can add prior art references for a given patent ... Citations of Wikipedia as actual prior art can be problematic, however, due to the fluid and open nature of its editing, and Patents Commissioner Doll said the agency used Wikipedia entries as background ...
Claims Under The European Patent Convention - Implementing Regulations - Rule 43(1) EPC
... includes all the features of the claim that in combination are known in a prior art document, namely the closest prior art ... those not known in the prior art document used to draft the claim in a two-part form ...
Printed Matter (patent Law)
... of manufacture that is claimed to distinguish an article from similar articles already in the prior art ... a newly claimed substrate bearing printed matter and a prior art substrate, where the only point of departure from the prior art is in the printed matter itself, are not entitled to patentable weight unless the printed ...

Famous quotes containing the words art and/or prior:

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