What Is A Prior Art Search?

What Is A Prior Art Search?

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Denver Patent Attorneys

Business owners may want to consider a prior art search to find out what is out there that might be the same or similar to their invention. The prior art search can give business owners a better idea of the state of the art related to their invention.
Business owners are not required to conduct a prior art search before filing a patent application (or at any time, for that matter). But in some cases, the prior art search turns up references that are the same as, or so similar to their invention. If this is the case, and the business owner decides not file a patent application, then they’ve just saved thousands of dollars!
Even if the prior art search indicates that one or more feature of the invention might be patentable, it is still a good idea to have an understanding of other inventions that are out there already. These might be the competition and business owners can see how to make their invention even better.
Oftentimes, seeing what else is out there will prompt business owners to think of additional features or enhancements for the invention, that can help better distinguish the invention over competitors. This can not only be helpful in preparing the patent application, but also for marketing the invention.
Of course, there is no guarantee that the prior art search will uncover all relevant (or even the most relevant) references. This is simply because there is so much information available, that it would be impossible to find and evaluate every reference that is related to the invention.

Written by

Mark Trenner is an attorney licensed to practice before the United States Patent and Trademark Office. In addition to my law degree, I have technical degrees in electrical engineering, environmental engineering, and civil engineering, and experience in a wide variety of technologies. With over 12 years experience in the intellectual property field, I have prepared, filed, and prosecuted numerous patent applications, trademark applications, and copyright applications. I am also experienced with other intellectual property and business law issues, including helping inventors license their inventions to industry. After practicing as an attorney in several private law firms, I also served as senior patent counsel for the U.S. Department of Energy's National Renewable Energy Laboratory in Golden, Colorado for 4 years. Trenner Law Firm was established in 2004 to serve individuals, entrepreneurs, start-ups, small businesses, and large corporate clients and help protect their intellectual property with patents, trademarks, and copyrights. General Information Only - NOT LEGAL ADVICE.