What is a prior art search?
For an invention to be patented, the criteria of novelty and non-obviousness have to be met. A prior art search is undertaken to ascertain whether an invention is new and non-obvious, or not.
What are the benefits of a prior art search?
To begin with, a prior art search will uncover any knowledge existing prior to the invention at hand. This knowledge might include, but may not be limited to, patent applications, scientific theses and industrial know-how. Once this knowledge is obtained, an inventor will get an accurate idea of just how novel and non-obvious the invention is. Later, the inventor can, accordingly, re-work his invention and patent application to enable the grant of a patent for the invention. Thus, a prior art search will help distinguish between what is already known (prior art) and what is new (invention).
The secondary benefit of a prior art search is that an inventor can also use the findings to understand the prevailing state of art in his field of research. This will provide guidance on the give an idea as to how the future scope of research could be.
How is a prior art search done?
IPTeL recommends inventors to engage in four phases during the prior art search.
- Short-listing of keywords
- Exhaustive search of databases
- Extensive Internet-based search
- Analysis and interpretation of search results
Inventors are also recommended to contact IPTeL for any help with a prior art search.