Strategies for successful prior art searching


Ian Pearce

It is essential to undertake a thorough prior art search before investing time and money in any potential new invention, as Ian Pearce explains.

An unoriginal technology will not only make legal protection impossible, but may also risk infringing other technologies. Attempting a prior art search can appear daunting, as it should encompass anything that has previously been made publicly available in any form, but a number of tips and tricks can be employed to help simplify the search process and determine what is a genuine advance in technology.

Database selection

The most significant starting point for any prior art search is the worldwide patent literature. There are numerous databases to use. It is important to understand which patent offices, document types and date ranges are covered within those databases, as well as any gaps in their data, so that an informed decision can be taken as to whether the search is sufficiently comprehensive.

inventions, Derwent World Patents Index, prior art, technology, Dialog, citations