Prior Art Search – Why it is crucial?

For any business indulged in IP industry, Prior Art search has become a crucial part of their business. To receive a patent protection, it is important to conduct a prior-art search. Filing of patent application without performing this search always poses a threat of patent application rejection. Your patent application may get rejected in the later stages due to discovery of the prior-arts.

Thus, the importance of performing a prior-art has gone up. Since no company wants to face future litigation, it has become a crucial aspect in the patent prosecution cycle. Before jumping to the importance and forms of prior-art search, let’s understand what exactly it means.

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What is A Prior Art ?

Prior Art can be defined as any technical or scientific information that already exists before you invented your invention. It includes books, journals, new articles, patents and more. A prior art can significantly impact the patentability of an invention.

Importance of Prior Art Search

There are three basic criteria that qualify an invention to receive patent rights. The basic criteria is – utility, non-obviousness and novelty. Novelty means that the invention should be new and unique. Whether an invention is novel or not is determined by the this search. Take a look at why conducting prior art search is crucial for inventors and organizations:

  • The value of conducting a this search cannot be overstated. Although it is not required, it is critical in assessing the patentability of the invention.
  • A prior-art search assists an inventor in determining how his or her invention differs from existing prior-arts. Additionally, the inventor can better explain how his or her invention differs from the nearest prior art to the examiner, resulting in a faster patent prosecution cycle.
  • By completing a this search, the inventor can determine if he should file a patent application or work around the idea strategically.

Types of Prior Art Search

Before filing the patent application, it is important for an inventor to perform a prior art search. It involves search of the same patent within the same domain. It is of different forms. An inventor can perform a prior art search depending upon the purpose and requirement. Take a look at its different types:

  • Validity Search – A validity search is conduct to challenge the validity of a patent or a claim. It includes both patent literature as well as non-patent literature.
  • Clearance Search or FTO Search – A clearance search is a search of issued patents to see if a product or process infringes on someone else’s patent, whether it’s active or pending (s). Companies perform FTO Search prior to launching the new product. FTO Search reports provides valuable information to eliminate the future infringement risk.
  • Landscape Search – The purpose of the landscape search is to get a high-level view of the technology space when entering a new technical domain, including recent technological trends, rivals, filing activity, and white-space/adjacent technologies. The organizations can benefit itself from landscape search report.
  • Novelty Search – Organizations conduct prior to filing the patent application. A patent worthy invention needs to be novel. The patent application will be rejected if the invention is not novel or unique.

Different Ways To Conduct A Prior Art Search

An inventor has the choice to choose from different ways when it comes to performing a Prior Art Search. The inventor can either choose to hire an expert or perform this search by himself. Hiring an expert to conduct this search makes sense since the experts have the access to various databases and can efficiently compare the invention with the similar patented invention because of their subject matter expertise. Furthermore, hiring experts will save time and efforts.

Likewise, an inventor can perform it, all by himself. The inventor can look for the similar patents in the USPTO Database to check if the similar technology or invention already exists. Other than USPTO database, there are many other alternatives available to inventor to perform this search such as google patents and more.


Performing this search is crucial for inventors who wish to protect their invention through patent. Prior-Art search involves looking through all the patent and nonpatent literature to ensure that your invention qualifies for the patent grant. It is important to go through all the journals, books, publications, and patent. All in all, it is a complicated, exhausting , and time consuming process.

Hire PDC for Prior Art Search

If an inventor is looking forward to hiring experts to perform this Search, Patent Drafting Catalyst’s Prior Art Search service can help. We have a team of experts who can efficiently handle this task so you can focus on all other aspects of your business. We offer our services in a time and cost-effective manner.

To know more about us or our services, get in touch with us.

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