Taking a deep dive into relevant prior art is an essential part of the innovation lifecycle. Thorough prior art analysis guides your business’s IP strategy, from competitive intelligence to resource allocation. Understanding what innovation has already been documented allows you to focus research and development on truly novel and nonobvious inventions. Prior art research may even spark an even more inventive idea than you were originally working on!
What is prior art?
Prior art includes all inventions publicly disclosed before yours. The most obvious place to look for ideas is in patent documentation, including pending and rejected applications as well as abandoned patents. However, a thorough analysis of relevant prior art includes non-patent literature too. Often, you’ll find key information in defensive publications, academic and scientific papers and presentations, technical standards, and other similar documents.
Why analyze prior art?
Finding patent and non-patent literature relevant to your newest idea is the first step. Your organization must be able to extract insights from these documents in order to make informed decisions about your R&D and any resulting IP. Doing so allows you to reduce risks and increase opportunities. With the right tools, prior art can offer insights into:
- Competitive Intelligence: Learn where your competitors are innovating—and where they’re not.
- Market Positioning: Solve your customers’ problems in new ways.
- Research Direction: Focus resources toward white space in the technology landscape.
- Investment Prospecting: Find new technologies, markets, and M&A targets to allocate IP budgets to.
Most importantly, comprehensive prior art research increases the likelihood that your invention is novel and nonobvious, and therefore patentable.
Conducting Prior Art Research
The challenge of thorough prior art analysis is finding highly relevant documents among the sheer volume of patent and non-patent literature and extracting valuable insights from them. InnovationQ Plus® allows stakeholders throughout the innovation lifecycle to find what they’re looking for with semantic search.
This allows engineers, scientists, and inventors, as well as IP professionals, to search millions of documents using a combination of natural language search queries and relevant filters. The AI-backed search engine delivers results from major patent-issuing authorities in the United States, Europe, China, Japan, South Korea, Germany, and Australia, as well as the World IP Organization and more. Your search results will also include relevant non-patent prior art from IEEE and IP.com’s Prior Art Database.
You can then use powerful features built into InnovationQ Plus, such as semantic mapping, to analyze the most relevant prior art and guide patent-related decisions.