Answered By: Farha Hasan
Last Updated: Sep 12, 2019     Views: 1

Patent terminology and use: Prior art

What is prior art how it can be used in patenting?


In order to ensure that an invention is new and non-obvious (and therefore patentable), patent examiners conduct a prior art search. In this context the term art is used as in the phrase, state of the art, when referring to cutting edge technology.

Prior art refers to all that is public knowledge including (but not limited to):

  • U.S. Patents and published patent applications
  • Foreign Patents and published patent applications
  • Journals and magazines
  • Books, manuals and catalogs
  • Websites and databases
  • Conference proceedings

Strategic Application

  • Prior art search is used to identify whether an idea is patentable.