Google adds prior art capabilities to its patent search engine

Google has upgraded its patent search engine, adding a facility to find possible examples of prior art.

According to I Programmer, the prior art facility searches for key terms in the patent through multiple sources (including Google Patents, Google Scholar, Google Books, and the web) for information that was available at the time a patent was applied for.

In the US, an inventor has to establish their invention is a novel idea in order to be granted a patent, meaning that a pre-existing invention (or “prior art”) can be used to challenge the validity of a patent.

With patents lawsuits recently becoming a high-profile issue both for Google as well its industry partners, the new facility might be put to good use by the company in the near future.

However, while Google Patents currently searches US and European patents, Australian patents are currently not offered among the search results.


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