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Evolution of Industry Knowledge in the Public Domain: Prior Art Searching for Software Patents

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Author(s): Jinseok Park

Journal: SCRIPT-ed
ISSN 1744-2567

Volume: 2;
Issue: 1;
Start page: 47;
Date: 2005;
Original page

ABSTRACT
Searching prior art is a key part of the patent application and examination processes. A comprehensive prior art search gives the inventor ideas as to how he can improve or circumvent existing technology by providing up to date knowledge on the state of the art. It also enables the patent applicant to minimise the likelihood of an objection from the patent office. This article explores the characteristics of prior art associated with software patents, dealing with difficulties in searching prior art due to the lack of resources, and considers public contribution to the formation of prior art databases. It addresses the evolution of electronic prior art in line with technological development, and discusses laws and practices in the EPO, USPTO, and the JPO in relation to the validity of prior art resources on the Internet. This article also investigates the main features of searching sources and tools in the three patent offices as well as non-patent literature databases. Based on the analysis of various searching databases, it provides some strategies of efficient prior art searching that should be considered for software-related inventions.
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