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State of the art

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The state of the art, in patent law, is the set of published ideas for a given domain.

Prior art is any proof that an idea was already part of the state of the art before a patent application was filed.

Contents

What can be used as prior art?

Some examples:

  • ads
  • marketing materials
  • manuals
  • conference proceedings discussing the idea
  • source code
  • ...many other things...

Invalidating a patent

Two approaches are possible with prior art:

  1. Using just prior art: show that someone else previously did what's described in some or all of the claims
  2. Combining prior art with obviousness: show that someone previously did something similar, and argue that in light of this new information about what the state of the art was, the claims of the patent are too obvious

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