Prior art research is a critical step in the patent application process. It can help determine whether an existing patent is valid or, if you are considering filing a new patent, can help you estimate the likelihood that the application will be granted. In either situation, LexisNexis® IP can help you get the job done.

Prior art research is an attempt to find information that could question the novelty or level of innovation of an invention at the time the patent application was submitted.

What is Prior Art?

“Prior art” refers to any knowledge that pre-dates the invention. This could be any past technology similar to yours, whether it was created or just described. Even if this technology was never turned into an invention, there could be evidence of it somewhere. If there is evidence of the technology already existing, that counts as prior art. This could get in the way of you receiving patent protection. 

  • To receive patent protection, you must show your idea is not already known.
  • If certain aspects of your invention are already known or have been invented by others, patent protection may be available only on the novel parts of your invention.
  • Whether something is prior art depends on the filing date of the patent application in question. It is prior art if the publication or disclosure was made before (whether that is days or years) the day the patent was filed.

What to Review for Prior Art Research

In order to research prior art thoroughly, it’s important to check as many resources as possible in order to eliminate the possibility of prior art already being in existence. Many publications could be reviewed in a prior art search:

  • Earlier patents

  • Pending patent applications

  • Rejected patents

  • Abandoned patents

  • Scientific publications

  • Textbooks

  • Newspapers

  • Lectures

  • Demonstrations

  • Exhibitions

Competing Art

You might also consider looking for competing art during your research. If you can find other technology solving the same problem as yours, you may gain insight into how you should position your art in the industry.

What tools can help me perform prior art research?

Let LexisNexis help you create more effective patent applications. We offer four products and services that enable intellectual property professionals to perform more efficient and thorough prior art patent searches in order to create more effective patent applications:

LexisNexis® TotalPatent®

This is a patent search engine with the world’s largest collection of searchable full-text and bibliographic abstract patent documents from more than 100 patent authorities. It will help you perform prior art research, including images, citations, legal status and patent family collections.

LexisNexis PatentAdvisor℠

The PatentAdvisor Document Search allows you to research and filter results for USPTO office actions, claims and responses across an extensive collection of pending, granted and abandoned patent applications. Perform office action searches, or search claims and responses, or other US patent application searches.

LexisNexis® PatentOptimizer™

This tool allows you to quickly research specific claim elements in the prior art by using advanced features such as semantic search, and capture or associate prior art reference data into an auto-generated claim hierarchy and perform prior art analysis.

IP Services

This is the best option if you do not have the time to perform prior art research yourself. IP Services can do it for you. We deliver expert, on-point results thanks to our team of expert researchers who have many years of experience.

Properly performed prior art research can mean the difference between success and failure when prosecuting or challenging a patent application. If you would like to learn more about how LexisNexis can help you and your organization, contact us today.

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