- Black Belt
- Posts: 2414
- Joined: Sun Jan 21, 2007 7:32 pm
- Location: United States
Prior Art refers to patents. The word â€˜artâ€™ means technology, in this case. Prior art is anything that can be used to dispute the novelty or inventiveness of one or more patent claims.
For the documentation of an older (pre-existing) item to be considered prior art against the patentability of a younger item, the older item doesnâ€™t need to be â€˜technologicallyâ€™ complex, necessarily. And, prior art may include issued patents, published applications, periodicals, internet content, seminars, etc.
With respect to patent claims, any form of prior art other than patent publications is normally used to bear only on the novelty (the newness) of a younger item. It is rarely used to determine the obviousness (the lack of inventiveness) of a younger item. This means that such alternate forms of prior art usually need to be documentations of an invention that is identical to the younger one (in terms of their features) to rule out patentability, and not just one that is similar enough to make the younger item potentially seem obvious to someone else.
A question of obviousness for a younger item is most often limited to the consideration of patent files on older items (I.e. issued patents, published applications, etc.). Differences in opinion regarding obviousness can be delicate matters, and should be handled accordingly.