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1.0    What is Prior Art?

Prior art refers to scientific and technical information that exists before the effective date of a given patent application 

Prior art may include;

  • Previous patents
  • Trade journal articles
  • Publications (including data books and catalogs)
  • Public discussions (conference and seminar)
  • Trade shows
  • Brochures
  • Products, devices & equipment

2.0    Why to Search for Prior Art?

Prior art search will help you to: 

  • Understand your competition 
  • Avoid patent infringement
  • Write your patent application 
  • Learn more about your field of the invention
  • Save the cost of patenting process

The results of a good patent search should reveal any identical, similar, or partially similar inventions to the one you might patent.

3.0    Where to Search for Prior Art?

1. United States Patent and Trademark Office (The USPTO)

   Covers issued and published U.S. patents from 1790

2. European Patent Office

    Contains patents from all over the world

3. Intellectual Property Office of Singapore

4. Patent Cooperation Treaty Application (PCT)

    Contains published PCT applications dating back to 1978

5. MyIPO   

4.0     How to Search for Prior Art?

An on-line prior art search can be done by a keyword search

Keyword search 

  • List the keywords that you would use to describe the invention.

  • Think of all possible aspects of the invention and choose the keyword that describes each aspect

The quality of a keyword search will depend on the appropriateness of keywords selected


Last Updated: 14/05/2020