What is Intellectual Property?

Intellectual property (IP) refers to creations of the mind: inventions, literary and artistic works, and symbols, names, images, and designs used in commerce. IP is divided into two categories: Industrial property, which includes inventions (patents), trademarks, industrial designs, and geographic indications of source; and Copyright, which includes literary and artistic works such as novels, poems and plays, films, musical works, artistic works such as drawings, paintings, photographs and sculptures, and architectural designs. Rights related to copyright include those of performing artists in their performances, producers of phonograms in their recordings, and those of broadcasters in their radio and television programs. For an introduction to IP for non-specialists, refer to: Intellectual Property Rights As mentioned earlier, the creators or owners are granted certain exclusive rights over their creations or works. Such exclusive rights are called intellectual property rights. These rights help them benefit from their creations and also enable them to protect their work. In that way, intellectual property is like any other real property which is financially beneficial for the owner. The monetary benefits are said to encourage people to come up with new inventions and creations. Intellectual property rights also enable the owners or creators to protect their work. These rights can be related to Article 27 of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights. According to this statute, "everyone has the right to the protection of the moral and material interests resulting from any scientific, literary or artistic production of which he is the author". So, owners of intellectual property can benefit through protection of the moral and material interests of their creations. Types of Intellectual Property Rights An intellectual property can be either artistic or commercial. The artistic works come under the category of copyright laws, while the commercial ones (also known as industrial properties), include patents, trademarks, industrial design rights, and trade secrets. Copyright laws deal with the intellectual property of creative works like books, music, software and painting. Industrial properties cover those created and used for industrial or commercial purposes. As stated earlier, intellectual property is categorized into various types as per the nature of work. The most common types are copyrights, trademarks, patents, industrial design rights and trade secrets. So, these rights safeguard the interests of the owners of IP. If you are an author, who has written a new book, you can apply for a copyright for your work. Likewise, patents can be obtained for inventions. Once you establish your IP right, you can protect your work legally.

) years after his/her death. patterns. The person who has an industrial design right has the exclusive right to make or sell any objects in which the design is applicable. A trademark can be a combination of words. As the time lapses. Trademarks: A trademark is a symbol generally used to identify a particular product. Trade Secrets: Trade secrets are the designs. but he can prevent the use of the trade secret by anyone who has learned it through the owner. or devices. colors and lines) or three-dimensional (as per shape and surface). logos. color. The design can be either two-dimensional (based on pattern. the work can be republished or reproduced by others. but have an aesthetic or ornamental value.. Industrial Design Rights: These rights protect the visual design of objects that are not purely utilitarian. legal entity or business organization to distinguish their products from others. which may differ from country to country. Usually. trademarks are protected legally and the owners can sue persons for unauthorized use of their trademarks. Patents: Patents are rights related to new inventions. Once registered. which indicates its source. It can be an industrial commodity or a handicraft. designs. processes. Trade secrets differ from other types of intellectual property rights. process. In order to be patented. used by an individual. the time limit of a patent is 20 years from the date of filing the application (for the patent). It may refer to the creation of a shape. in most countries the timespan of a copyright extends through the entire life of the owner and lasts up to a period of about 50 to100 (70 years in the U. Such rights are conferred on persons who invent any new machine. In case of anonymous works. an employer can protect trade secrets through contracts with his employees. It is an exclusive right to control the publication. which is embossed on their products. article of manufacture or composition of matter and biological discoveries. distribution and adaptation of creative works. pattern or a combination of all these things. or ideas which are used by a company to gain an economic advantage over its competitors. The right lies with the owner-cum-copyright holder for a certain period. images. phrases. For example. symbols. The person who receives a patent for his invention has an exclusive right to prevent others from making.S. originality and visual appeal. The right is conferred for a period of 10 to 25 years.Copyrights: A copyright is a right conferred on the owner of a literary or artistic work. recipes. For example. . you can identify the products of Nike Inc. the invention should fit into specific criteria. Generally. instruments. from the logo. The owner of a trade secret does not possess any right over anyone who gains access to that secret independently. selling or distributing the patented invention without permission. An industrial design right is conferred after considering factors like novelty. using. the right lasts for 95 years from the date of first publication or 120 years from the date of creation. practices. In general. formulas. the invention must be new and should be useful or can be applied in industries.

Financial incentive These exclusive rights allow owners of intellectual property to benefit from the property they have created. stress international harmonization. providing a financial incentive for the creation of an investment in intellectual property. as a deliberate act of Government policy. typically adopting its law and rhetoric. The second is to promote. such as the America Invents Act. it can be used by any person. Other recent developments in intellectual property law. and an incentive is created for inventors and authors to create and disclose their work. The WIPO Intellectual Property Handbook gives two reasons for intellectual property laws: One is to give statutory expression to the moral and economic rights of creators in their creations and the rights of the public in access to those creations. Constitution. Some commentators have noted that the objective of intellectual property legislators and those who support its implementation appears to be "absolute protection.S." [13] This absolute protection or full value view treats intellectual property as another type of 'real' property. in case of patents.[16] .because it is the responsibility of the owner to keep the secret and it is not protected through government policies. Once the trade secret is leaked. and has distinct policy objectives which are not discussed here. society and the patentee/copyright owner mutually benefit."[12] By exchanging limited exclusive rights for disclosure of inventions and creative works. as the law protects their rights over their works. such as David Levine and Michele Boldrin. creativity and the dissemination and application of its results and to encourage fair trading which would contribute to economic and social development. Trademark law is not based in the intellectual property clause of the U. they reason." "If some intellectual property is desirable because it encourages innovation. more is better.[15] Economic growth The WIPO treaty and several related international agreements are premised on the notion that the protection of intellectual property rights are essential to maintaining economic growth. it is very important to respect these rights and refrain from infringing them Objectives The stated objective of most intellectual property law (with the exception of trademarks) is to "Promote progress. Intellectual property rights have encouraged people to come up with indigenous creations. The thinking is that creators will not have sufficient incentive to invent unless they are legally entitled to capture the full social value of their inventions. and. pay associated research and development costs. Thus.[14] Some commentators. dispute this justification.

IP makes excludable non-rival intellectual products that were previously non-excludable. Personality theorists believe intellectual property is an extension of an individual. such as: 1. Although Locke had never explicitly stated that natural right applied to products of the mind. This situation can be seen as a market failure. can be traced to intangible assets. This creates economic inefficiency as long as the monopoly is held.S. The arguments that justify intellectual property fall into three major categories. Natural Rights/Justice Argument: this argument is based on Locke’s idea that a person has a natural right over the labour and/or products which is produced by his/her body. and an issue of appropriability."[20] Economists have also shown that IP can be a disincentive to innovation when that innovation is drastic. Utilitarians believe that intellectual property stimulates social progress and pushes people to further innovation.[24] it is possible to apply his argument to intellectual property rights.[17] Economists estimate that two-thirds of the value of large businesses in the U.[21] Morality According to Article 27 of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights. literary or artistic production of which he is the author". "everyone has the right to the protection of the moral and material interests resulting from any scientific. A disincentive to direct resources toward innovation can occur when monopoly profits are less than the overall welfare improvement to society.[23] there are moral arguments for intellectual property.[19][dubious – discuss] A joint research project of the WIPO and the United Nations University measuring the impact of IP systems on six Asian countries found "a positive correlation between the strengthening of the IP system and subsequent economic growth. Lokeans argue that intellectual property is justified based on deservedness and hard work.The Anti-Counterfeiting Trade Agreement (ACTA) states that "effective enforcement of intellectual property rights is critical to sustaining economic growth across all industries and globally". in which it would be unjust for people to misuse another's . Various moral justifications for private property can be used to argue in favor of the morality of intellectual property. Appropriating these products is viewed as unjust.[22] Although the relationship between intellectual property and human rights is a complex one.[18] "IP-intensive industries" are estimated to generate 72 percent more value added (price minus material cost) per employee than "non-IPintensive industries".

They argue that we own our bodies which are the laborers.ideas. or is . most pertinently. that is to say. and other resources". the expression "patent application" is ambiguous. is refused. 2. intellectual property rights seek to maximize social utility. and is temporal by its very nature.[1] It can bear two different meanings: 1. Utilitarian-Pragmatic Argument: according to this rationale. labor. a society that protects private property is more effective and prosperous than societies that do not. 3. The legal state of affairs that is constituted when a person requests the competent authority to grant him a patent and that request is still outstanding. Intellectual property protects these moral claims that have to do with personality.[27] The presumption is that they promote public welfare by encouraging the "creation.[29] European intellectual property law is shaped by this notion that ideas are an "extension of oneself and of one’s personality". The belief is that the human mind itself is the source of wealth and survival and that all property at its base is intellectual property.[25] Lokeans argument for intellectual property is based upon the idea that laborers have the right to control that which they create. Innovation and invention in 19th century America has been said to be attributed to the development of the patent system. "Personality" Argument: this argument is based on a quote from Hegel: "Every man has the right to turn his will upon a thing or make the thing an object of his will.[28] Utilitarians argue that without intellectual property there would be a lack of incentive to produce new idea. intellectual property ensures this right when it comes to production. this right of ownership extends to what we create. a description of the invention together with at least one claim purporting to define it. To violate intellectual property is therefore no different morally than violating other property rights which compromises the very processes of survival and therefore constitutes an immoral act Patent Definition As pointed out by Peter Prescott QC. The content of the document or documents which that person filed with a view to initiating the above. It ceases to exist as soon as your application is withdrawn. and distribution of intellectual works". Systems of protection such as Intellectual property optimize social utility. Thus. The first of those – the request for a legal privilege to which you will be entitled if your application be well founded – is an institutional fact. Writer Ayn Rand has argued that the protection of intellectual property is essentially a moral issue. 2.[26] By providing innovators with "durable and tangible return on their investment of time.[30] Personality theorists argue that by being a creator of something one is inherently at risk and vulnerable for having their ideas and designs stolen and/or altered. production. to set aside the mere thing and recreate it as his own".

The application may either be filed directly at that office. and the latter as "regional (patent) applications". It exists in perpetuity. The former are known as "national (patent) applications". .[3] The expression is capable of misleading even experienced professionals.granted. Filing and prosecuting an application at a regional granting office is advantageous as it allows patents in a number of countries to be obtained without having to prosecute applications in all of those countries. following a single application process. once it enters the national phase. The cost and complexity of obtaining protection is therefore reduced. is a historical fact that never goes away. such as the United Kingdom Patent Office. or anyone else does. The EPO grants patents which can take effect in some or all countries contracting to the European Patent Convention (EPC). International applications (under the Patent Cooperation Treaty) The Patent Cooperation Treaty (PCT) is operated by World Intellectual Property Organization (WIPO) and provides a centralised application process. but patents are not granted under the treaty. no matter what the Patent Office does. National applications National applications are generally filed at a national patent office. regional and international applications Depending upon the office at which a patent application is filed. the informational content of the document as filed (or in other. or may result from a regional application or from an international application under the Patent Cooperation Treaty (PCT).[3] National. prosaic words. or may be an application for a patent in a range of countries. to obtain a patent in the country of that office. that application could either be an application for a patent in a given country. The European Patent Office (EPO) is an example of a Regional patent office. The second of those. the piece of paper). Regional applications A regional patent application is one which may have effect in a range of countries.[1][2] The expression "application" is often employed without being conscious of its ambiguity.

but the general groups are detailed below. damages can be claimed from the date of the international application's publication. In most countries. and design patents. publishes the international applications and coordinates preliminary examination performed by any one of the International Preliminary Examination Authorities (IPEA). A complete non-provisional application differs from a provisional in that a non-provisional must contain at least one claim and is to be . Within each group there are specific type of applications.S. or more precisely the International Bureau of WIPO. each of which can have their own substantive and procedural rules. Standard application A standard patent application is a patent application containing all of the necessary parts (e.Exemplary PCT procedure.S. such as utility patents. Each office utilises different names for the types of applications. at a later date. while the cost of a large number of applications is deferred.[5] Types of applications Patent offices may define a number of types of applications.g. a written description of the invention and claims) that are required for the grant of a patent. each offering different benefits and being useful in different situations. and need not be repeated.. In the U. therefore avoiding the need to repeat the steps in all countries in which a patent may ultimately be granted. provisional application as a first filing The PCT system enables an applicant to file a single patent application in a single language. The main advantage of proceeding via the PCT route is that the option of obtaining patents in a wide range of countries is retained. with a U. called an international application. performs many of the formalities of a patent application in a centralised manner. A standard patent may or may not result in the grant of a patent depending upon the outcome of an examination by the patent office it is filed in. and filing certified copies of priority documents can also be done centrally. The WIPO coordinates searches performed by any one of the International Searching Authorities (ISA).[4] The application. plant patents. if a national application succeeds. lead to the grant of a patent in any of the states contracting to the PCT. can. A non-provisional patent application is a term referring to a United States patent application that is not a provisional application. a standard patent application is referred to as a "non-provisional" application. WIPO. The term arose in 1995 to distinguish what were at the time "normal" patent applications from the newly established provisional applications. Steps such as naming inventors and applicants.

A provisional application can establish an early effective filing date in one or more continuing patent applications later claiming the priority date of an invention disclosed in earlier provisional applications by one or more of the same inventors. within a limited time (one year in the U. A divisional application can only contain subject matter in the application from which . Otherwise.[1] A provisional application includes a specification.e. Such an application is a convenient method of including material from a previous application in a new application when the priority year has expired and further refinement is needed. Divisional application A divisional application is one which has been "divided" from an existing application. and drawing(s) of an invention (drawings are required where necessary for the understanding of the subject matter sought to be patented[2]). a description. inventors' oaths or declarations. the USPTO fee for filing a provisional patent application is significantly lower (US$ 125 as of September 2011) than the fee required to file a standard non-provisional patent application. such as continuation and continuation-in-part. Continuation applications In certain offices a patent application can be filed as a continuation of a previous application. but without the expense and complexity of a standard patent application. The disclosure in a provisional application may. but which does not mature into an issued patent unless the applicant files a regular non-provisional patent application within one year. the provisional application expires.S. such as the USPTO in the U. A non-provisional application may also claim priority to a prior filed application. Various types of continuation application are possible. be incorporated into a standard patent application if a patent is to be pursued. The same term is used in past and current patent laws of other countries with different meanings. because no examination of the patentability of the application in view of the prior art is performed.). a provisional application is a legal document filed in the United States Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO). or any information disclosure statement (IDS). but does not require formal patent claims. which is not permitted with provisional applications Provisional applications Provisional patent applications can be filed at many patent offices. There is no such thing as a "provisional patent". No enforceable rights can be obtained solely through the filing of a provisional application. A provisional application provides an opportunity to place an application on file to obtain a filing date (thereby securing a priority date).S. Furthermore. that establishes an early filing date. Under United States patent law.examined. i.

a description of the invention and embodiments of the invention and claims. but retains the filing and priority date of that parent. or computer code. fourth. section ordering and headings. depending upon the subject matter of the application. font. Most patent offices also require that the application includes an abstract which provides a summary of the invention to aid searching.it is divided (its parent). A specification may include figures to aid the description of the invention. Such requirements vary between offices. in which case the second (and third. No claim broadening is allowed more than two years after the patent issues. etc. claims can be amended after a patent is granted. Claims The claims of a patent specification define the scope of protection of a patent granted by the patent. it is important to have it done correctly the first time.. Patent specification A patent specification is a document describing the invention for which a patent is sought and setting out the scope of the protection of the patent. but their scope cannot be broadened beyond what was originally disclosed in the specification. A divisional application is useful if a unity of invention objection is issued. a specification generally contains a section detailing the background and overview of the invention. That specification is filed at a patent office for examination and ultimately a patent for the invention described in the application is either granted or refused. independent claim setting out the broadest protection. The claims may contain one or more hierarchical sets of claims. defining such things as paper size. As such. The process of obtaining the grant of a patent begins with the preparation of a specification describing the invention.) inventions can be protected in divisional applications. The claims describe the invention in a specific legal style. gene sequences and references to biological deposits.S. layout. A title must also generally be provided for the application. . and a number of dependent claims which narrow that protection by defining more specific features of the invention. which set out the scope of the protection. Claims are often amended during prosecution to narrow or expand their scope. In the U. Each patent office has rules relating to the form of the specification. Since a description cannot generally be modified once it is filed (with narrow exceptions). setting out the essential features of the invention in a manner to clearly define what will infringe the patent. each having one or more main.

Security issues Many national patent offices require that security clearance is given prior to the filing of a patent application in foreign countries. since no subject matter can be added to an application after the filing date. without any of the applications made earlier for the same invention counting against later applications. the right to a patent for an invention lies with the first person to file an application for protection of that invention (See: first to file and first to invent). as the cost of the filings can be delayed by up to a year. and also because. The rules relating to priority claims are in accordance with the Paris Convention for the Protection of Industrial Property. claims and an abstract are not required to obtain a filing date. Priority claim A patent application may claim priority from another previously filed application in order to take advantage of the filing date of information disclosed in that earlier application. However. increasing the likelihood of obtaining a patent. in most jurisdictions. correction may be possible without moving the filing date. The priority system is useful in filing patent applications in many countries. the patent office will notify the applicant of the deficiencies.. Claiming priority is desirable because the earlier effective filing date reduces the number of prior art disclosures. For example.K. but can be added later. . To obtain a filing date.Filing date The filing date of an application is important as it sets a cutoff date after which any public disclosures will not form prior art (but the priority date must also be considered). outlined above. and countries which provide a priority system in conformity with the Paris Convention are said to be convention countries. It is therefore generally beneficial to file an application as soon as possible. A full specification complying with all rules may not be required to obtain a filing date. or the application may be awarded a filing date adjusted to the date on which the requirements are completed. the documents filed must comply with the regulations of the patent office in which it was filed. Such clearance is intended to protect national security by preventing the spread and publication of technologies related to (amongst others) warfare or nuclear arms. A filed application generally receives an application number. If the requirements for the award of a filing date are not met. Depending upon the law of the patent office in question. in the U. These rules should not be confused with the rules under the Patent Cooperation Treaty (PCT). it is important that an application disclose all material relevant to the application at the time of filing.

That order may prevent the publication of the application. may grant an automatic license after a specified time (e. Some offices. in Europe. such as the USPTO. In general. The term may be used to mark products containing the invention to alert a third party to the fact that the third party may be infringing a patent if the product is copied after the patent is granted. Publication Patent applications are generally published 18 months after the earliest priority date of the application. things such as computer software or methods of performing . if a secrecy order is not issued in that time. a secrecy order may be imposed. certain parts of the application file may remain confidential. and/or the foreign filing of patents relating to the invention. 6 months). Such restrictions are known as exclusions from patentability. Prior to that publication the application is confidential to the patent office.g. depending upon local rules. it is permissible to apply the term patent pending to a product if there is.. a patent pending for any invention implemented in the product. Should it be desired to file an application in a country other than an inventor's country of residence. but while an invention may occur in any field. For example.S. but it is common for all communications between an Applicant (or his agent) and the patent office to be publicly available. The rules on the use of the term to mark products vary among patent offices. than in Europe. patent laws have restrictions on the areas in which patents can be granted. in fact. After publication. patent applicants should be aware of the arms export-control laws that may restrict the types of technical information that can be disclosed to any foreign nationals. Patentable subject matter Patents are granted for the protection of an invention. it may be necessary to obtain a foreign filing licence from the inventor's national patent office to permit filing abroad. as do the benefits of such marking. Patent pending Patent pending is a term used to describe an alleged invention that is the subject of a patent application. The scope of patentable subject is significantly larger in the U. Similarly. but in general all applications filed are reviewed and if they contain any relevant material. The publication of a patent application marks the date at which it is publicly available and therefore at which it forms full prior art for other patent applications worldwide.The rules vary between patent offices. Anyone working on government contracts involving national security technologies would be well advised to carefully coordinate patent applications with the relevant agencies.

triggering further response. . whereas the term of later filings is determined solely by the filing date. a separate search is not conducted. a search is carried out for the patent application. generally with the application 18 months after the priority date of the application. The subject of what should be patentable is highly contentious. in some jurisdictions. so that they may have an idea of the scope of protection which may be granted to the pending patent application. and in some regional patent systems. Furthermore. The purpose of the search is to reveal prior art which may be relevant to the patentability of the alleged invention (that is. the "claimed subject-matter"). Search and examination After filing. and so forth. particularly as to software and business methods. The date of issue effectively terminates prosecution of a specific application. after which continuing applications cannot be filed. Issue or grant Once the patent application complies with the requirements of the relevant patent office. Examination is the process of ensuring that an application complies with the requirements of the relevant patent laws. and as such is a public document. but rather search and examination are combined. relevant to what is claimed. The amendment and the argument may then be accepted or rejected. (see office action) The applicant may respond with an argument or an amendment to overcome the objection. a separate search report is not issued. The search report is also useful for the public and the competitors.S. [6] In some jurisdictions including the U. an issue date for an application in the U. upon request. Examination is generally an iterative process. whereby the patent office notifies the applicant of its objection. and establishes the date upon which infringement may be charged. translations of the application into the official languages of the states in which protection is desired must be filed to validate the patent.mental acts are not patentable. such as the European patent system. in which case the application may be abandoned before the applicant incurs further expense.S. In such case. a patent will be granted further official fees. The search report is published. The search report is useful to the applicant to determine whether the application should be pursued or if there is prior art which prevents the grant of a useful patent.. either systematically or. and it is not until the application is examined that the applicant is informed of prior art which the patent office examiner considers relevant. until a patent is issued or the application is abandoned. filed prior to 1995 also factors into the term of the patent.

the "unity of invention" or the "best mode requirement". Under the European Patent Convention. Prior to filing a patent application. in order for an invention to be patentable. and does not refer to formal conditions such as the "sufficiency of disclosure". it must  be of patentable subject matter. be non-obvious (in United States patent law) or involve an inventive step (in European patent law). inventors sometimes obtain a patentability opinion from a patent agent or patent attorney regarding whether an invention satisfies the substantive conditions of patentability. Japan provides similar options as well. a kind of subject-matter that is eligible for patent protection. i. Judging patentability is one aspect of the official examination of a patent application performed by a patent examiner and may be tested in post-grant patent litigation.e. members of the public can initiate reexamination proceedings. be novel (i. at least some aspect of it must be new). In the United States. some of which may cause the patent office to re-examine the application.. and be useful (in U. Patentability: Requirements The patent laws usually require that.S. . Opposition and reexamination Many national and regional patent offices provide procedures for reconsidering whether or not a given patent is valid after grant.    Usually the term "patentability" only refers to "substantive" conditions. any person can file an opposition provided they act promptly after grant of the patent. The validity of an issued patent may also be subject to post-issue challenges of various types. Failure to timely pay the fees results in loss of the patent's protection.e. patent law) or be susceptible of industrial application (in European patent law[1]). Members of the public can also initiate lawsuits in the courts of various nations to have patents declared invalid.Post-issue or grant Many jurisdictions require periodic payment of maintenance fees in order to retain the validity of a patent after it is issued and during its term.

It is disputed whether traditional knowledge (e. therefore. of medical properties of a certain plant) constitutes prior art. and in many countries. oral disclosures also form prior art—see Article 54(2) EPC). The first patent in a given area might include a broad claim covering a general inventive concept if there is at that point no relevant prior art. the information needs to be recorded in a fixed form somehow. Infringement The fact that an invention is patentable or even patented does not necessarily mean that use of the invention would not also infringe another patent. although someone else already knew of the invention. a patent may be granted on an invention. or background art[1]). or by formal applications for revocation before the Patent Office or the Court. in most systems of patent law. for instance. With such an obligation. a patent on that invention is not valid. provided that employees and others with access to the information are under a nondisclosure obligation. the earlier inventor might want to obtain a license from the later inventor. The later inventor must.. In order to anticipate a claim. Prior art must be available in some way to the public. but nevertheless still falls within the scope of the earlier claim (covering the general concept). which also has other meanings. At the same time. . as a trade secret. A person who used an invention in secret may in some jurisdictions be able to claim "prior user rights" and thereby gain the right to continue using the invention. Information kept secret. this is noted for future reference by way of a Certificate of contested validity. the two would enter into a cross license. prior art is generally expected to provide a description sufficient to inform an average worker in the field (or the person skilled in the art) of some subject matter falling within the scope of the claim. If the patent survives a revocation action. Therefore. Prior art Prior art (also known as state of the art. the information is typically not be regarded as prior art. As a special exception. Prior art generally does not include unpublished work or mere conversations (though according to the European Patent Convention. particularly if the later invention represents a significant improvement in the implementation of the original broad concept.g. obtain a license from the earlier inventor in order to be able to exploit his or her invention.United Kingdom patents can be reviewed by way of a non-binding opinion issued by the Patent Office. If an invention has been described in the prior art. In this case.[2] constitutes all information that has been made available to the public in any form before a given date that might be relevant to a patent's claims of originality. earlier-filed and unpublished patent applications do qualify as prior art as of their filing date in certain circumstances. Later. a specific implementation of that concept might be patentable if it is not disclosed in the earlier patent (or any intervening prior art). is not usually prior art.

The search may include searching in databases of patents. Types of prior art s Novelty A "novelty search" is a prior art search that is often conducted by patent attorneys. A clearance search is a search targeting patents being in force and may be limited to a particular country and group of countries. Clearance A clearance search is a search of issued patents to see if a given product or process violates someone else's existing patent.02 General Search Guidelines. If so. patent applications and other documents such as utility models and in the scientific literature. and Search. Manual of Patent Examining Procedure (MPEP) 904. examiner's search guidelines applicable to the United States are found in the U. For instance. A novelty search helps an inventor to determine if the invention is novel before the inventor commits the resources necessary to obtain a patent. This might be done by an entity infringing. then a validity search may be done to try to find prior art that would invalidate the patent. the patent. in return for the right (during a limited term) to exclude others from manufacturing. patent agents or professional patent searchers before an inventor files a patent application. The purpose of a validity (or invalidity) search is to find prior art that the patent examiner overlooked so that a patent can be declared invalid.S.[5 Validity A "validity search" is a prior art search done after a patent issues.Patents disclose to society how an invention is practiced. offering for sale or using the patented invention without the patentee's permission. Prior Art. Classification. or it might be done by a patent owner or other entity that has a financial stake in a patent to confirm the validity of a patent. or a specific market. selling. Patent offices deal with prior art searches in the context of the patent granting procedure. . A search of this type is also conducted by patent examiners during prosecution of the patent application. or potentially infringing.

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