What is Prior Art?


Prior art is technically defined by the America Invents Act (AIA) which is the federal patent law in the United States.

But in layman’s terms, prior art is generally any kind of public document or disclosure that occurs before you have established a filing date. A patent application is examined by the Patent Office by comparing your invention with whatever is found in the prior art. How broad (and strong) of a patent that you may be able to get can depend on how great the differences are between your invention and the prior art.

Your own acts and public documents that you create can become prior art against yourself. It is important to establish a filing date by filing a patent application so that events or documents occurring after the filing date will not become prior art.

Related Topics:

What is a Provisional Patent Application?

What is a Patent Search?

Can I Tell Others About My Invention Before I File a Patent Application?

I Haven’t Filed a Patent Application Yet, What Deadlines Should I be Aware of?


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