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Searching for Prior Art:

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Title: Searching for Prior Art:


1
Conference on Intellectual Property in the Global
Marketplace
Searching for Prior Art Moving From the Search
Room to the World Wide Web
Larry Tarazano  Primary Examiner Technology
Center 1700 U.S. Patent and Trademark Office 
2
What is Prior Art?
  • We have all heard the term state of the art.
  • The term useful arts is used in Article 1,
    Section 8 of the Constitution.
  • The Congress shall have the power to promote
    the progress of science and the useful arts

3
What is Prior Art?
  • Prior art is the technology that was known
    before.

4
What Constitutes Prior Art Against a U.S. Patent
Application?
  • Printed publications in any language, U.S
    patents, and foreign patents, which publish
    before the filing date of the patent application.
    This includes items that are electronically
    published.
  • Additionally, published U.S. patent applications,
    U.S. patents, and certain applications filed
    under the Patent Cooperation Treaty are also
    available for their effective U.S. filing date.

5
Why Do a Prior Art Search?
  • To uncover what has been done before
  • Determine if the idea warrants the time and
    expense of filing for a patent.
  • Also, provides background information for writing
    the patent application and helps shape the scope
    of the claims.

6
Where Does One Find Prior Art?
  • Everywhere!

However, it is best to look in the places most
likely to contain information about a particular
technology.
7
How Does One Start a Prior Art Search?
  • Outline the invention
  • Think about where most relevant information would
    be. A lot depends on the nature of the
    invention.
  • Journal articles
  • Books related to the discipline
  • Internet search engines (e.g. Google)
  • Commercial databases
  • National patent office databases


8
Searching for Prior Art in the Early 20th
Century
9
Searching for Prior Art in the 21st Century
10
Patent Databases
  • The USPTO allows the public to freely search on
    our Web site, USPTO.gov
  • http//www.uspto.gov/patft/index.html
  • Additionally, other national offices allow you to
    search their databases. The Japanese even provide
    some information in English.
  • European patent databases
  • http//www.espacenet.com/access/index.en.htm
  • Japanese patent database
  • http//www.ipdl.ncipi.go.jp/homepg_e.ipdl

11
Patents Search Page
Complex Searches
Patent Number
USPTO.gov
12
How to Search the U.S. Patent Database on
USTPO.gov
  • The Web site gives extensive information of what
    fields may be searched.

13
How to Search the U.S. Patent Database on
USTPO.gov
  • What search operators may be used
  • OR, AND, ANDNOT
  • And how to truncate words
  • elec
  • This query would retrieve patents that contain
    the words electricity, electric, electronic, etc.

14
What is Available Online from the USPTO?
  • Issued patents (PatFT)
  • Full-text since 1976, full-page images since 1790
  • Published applications (AppFT)
  • Published since March 15, 2001

15
Searching Techniques
  • Searching the text of patent documents using
    keywords
  • Searching by patent classification and viewing
    the images
  • Combinations thereof

16
Searching by Keywords Can Be Difficult
  • A rose by any other name would smell as sweet
    (Shakespeare, Romeo and Juliet)
  • Unfortunately, this also illustrates the pitfalls
    of text searching
  • Different words can be used to describe the same
    thing
  • Additionally, the same word can be used to
    describe different things

17
What is the U.S. Patent Classification System?
  • It is a system that has developed over the years
    to organize U.S. patents based on their subject
    matter.
  • It allows related prior art to be grouped
    together and helps TARGET a search!
  • Other countries have their own classification
    systems, and there is the International Patent
    Classification System (IPC).

18
Introducing
  • IP Cosmetics, Inc.
  • and the toils of finding
  • prior art
  • on the design of their bottle

19
IP Cosmetics, Inc.
  • This is one of the design concepts for the
    container to hold a new cream made by IP
    Cosmetics, Inc.

20
Searching for Prior Art
  • In this instance, the patentable feature is the
    appearance of the container.
  • The design of the bottle may be researched in a
    variety of ways.

21
USPTO Patent Database
  • Searching by classification using class/subclass
  • Manual of Patent Classification
  • Searching the text of patents and looking at the
    classification of the documents
  • Consulting the USPTO (800-PTO-9199)


22
USPTO Patent Database
  • Determining classes/subclasses


23
USPTO Patent Database
  • Determining classes/subclasses


24
USPTO Patent Database
  • Determining classes/subclasses


25
USPTO Patent Database
  • Determining classes/subclasses

(light bulbs)

26
USPTO Patent Database
  • Searching by class/subclass


27
USPTO Patent Database
  • Searching by class/subclass


28
Search Hits
29
Search Hits
30
Search Hits
31
Search Hits
32
USPTO Patent Database
  • Another tactic is a combined patent
    classification and text search
  • First, the scope of the prior art is limited by
    classification to design patents.
  • Second, the search results are further limited by
    searching keywords.

33
Targeting a Search Using Classification
All Patents
Design Patents
34
Further Limiting the Search by Text Searching
  • Possible Key Words

Design Patents
35
A Combined Classification and Text Search
  • A text search for light bulb including the terms
    holder or support

36
A Combined Classification and Text Search
37
A Combined Classification and Text Search
38
Results of the Prior Art Search
  • People have designed containers in the shape of
    light bulbs and light bulb stands, however, none
    approximate the shape of this design.

39
Conference on Intellectual Property in the Global
Marketplace
Searching for Prior Art Moving From the Search
Room to the World Wide Web
  • Donald.Tarazano_at_uspto.gov
  • THANK YOU
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