Prior Art Search? There’s An App For That

OK there’s not really an app for that, but here’s the next best thing:  The folks at Google have once again provided a tool that may redefine the experience of independent inventors and small companies looking to find prior art.  This week, Google added a “find prior art” button to its already highly useful patent search utility.  Here’s some of what the company had to say about the new feature from the Google Research blog:

Determining the novelty of a patent can be difficult, requiring a laborious search through many sources, and so we’ve built a Prior Art Finder to make this process easier. With a single click, it searches multiple sources for related content that existed at the time the patent was filed….

The Prior Art Finder identifies key phrases from the text of the patent, combines them into a search query, and displays relevant results from Google Patents, Google Scholar, Google Books, and the rest of the web.

Google Patents has also expanded its patent database to include patents from the European Patent Office.  Taken together these developments mark a substantial step forward for inventors, companies and patent professionals searching for prior art.  The increasing accessibility of patent data is a positive step toward making the patent system more useful and less expensive.

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