A prior art search is required:
- during the examination of a patent application prior to the grant of the patent
- in the course of opposition proceedings against an already granted patent
The basics of filing a patent application
Within the framework of a state-of-the-art search, information is sought which could have an impact on the novelty or the inventive step of an invention at the time of filing the patent application.
In order to obtain an overview of the state of the art, a patent search can be carried out, since part of the state of the art can be searched particularly well here. In principle, however, prior art does not only include what can be found in the databases of the patent offices, but everything that has ever been published anywhere in the world.
Who invented it?
If a technology to be patented already belonged to the state of the art at the time of the patent application, this can - even retrospectively - have a decisive influence on the evaluation of the patentability of this invention.
During the examination for novelty one looks for documents which describe the technology applied for a patent or already patented exactly. For a document to be harmful to novelty, it must have been publicly available before the patent in question was filed. In addition, the document must describe as clearly as possible all patent claims cited in the patent.