Types Of Prior Art Searches

Prior Art search service is a kind of search that provides the evidence to validate a new invention. It is basically a proof that the invention is already known. A prior art need not have to essentially be available for commercial purpose. A painting made in the pre-historic period or a technology used over a century ago can be termed as a prior art. Often times, inventors who invent a new product commit the mistake of believing that their invention is novel just because they cannot find any product which is similar to their invention available in the market for sale. However, the reality is that majority of the inventions may not have become a tangible product but yet there may be some evidence present somewhere. This evidence, whichever form may it be is considered as prior art.


Today with the help of internet prior art search services can be found easily within few minutes. If you have invented something or in the process of invention it is important that you look for prior art because if you fail to do it someone else will surely search for it. Some of the types of prior art search you must do are:

  • Novelty Search

This type of search is usually conducted by the experts like patent agents or patent attorneys before the inventor flies an application for patent right. Novelty search allows the inventor to determine whether the invention is novel prior to committing to gathering the sources for obtaining the patent. This type of search can be a time consuming work as it involves searching the different patent database for applications for similar invention and other documents such as science literature.

Novelty search also helps the inventor to know about the unique feature of his/her invention. Any feature that is not found in the prior art can be eligible for obtaining patent.  Novelty search is also conducted at a time when the patent application is prosecuted. This is done by the specialist patent examiners.

  • Validity

This type of prior art search is done after the patent issue is completed. The main objective of conducting this prior art search is to find prior art that the patent examine failed to examine so that the patent application can be disapproved or the prior art be deemed invalid. The validity search is usually conducted by an infringing entity or a patent owner who has financial interest in the patent to reaffirm the validity of the patent. The result of the validity search is made available for public reference. This helps the other people who are interest in getting a patent for similar invention and are interested for prior art.

  • Clearance¬†

Clearance search is a prior art search to check if the patents issued for a particular invention is violating any patent of another existing invention. If any violations are found, then a validity search may be conducted again to find prior art that would make the patent invalid. A clearance search is essentially a search about the patents that are already in force but is restricted only a particular group or country or a market.