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With increasing availability of information, industry professionals struggle with how they can find relevant prior art to increase the quality of patents. is a nonprofit website dedicated to helping the world access publicly available art to help improve the quality of patents. This site contains scientific literature, research papers, and other non-patent-literature (NPL) that can be used to improve patent quality by finding prior art quickly.

This is meant to serve as a metadata and search engine to provide a) millions of public prior art documents found on the web and publicly available, and b) allows the public to submit and add documents to be publicly indexed for future research. Please upload PDFs or documents that are you have the copyright to and are relevant for others to use for their own prior art analysis. Together we can increase the quality of patents.


What is prior art? Why does it matter?

Explanation of the USPTO, Prior Art and America Invests Act
USPTO 102(a)(1) precludes a patent if a claimed invention was, before the effective filing date of the claimed invention:

"Printed publication" includes: "Otherwise available to the public" is a new catch-all provision of 102(a)(1) that has no counterpart in pre-AIA law. For example:
  • an oral presentation at a scientific meeting
  • a demonstration at a trade show
  • a lecture or speech
  • a statement made on a radio talk show
  • a YouTube video, Web site, or other on-line material (this type of disclosure may also qualify as a printed publication under AIA and pre-AIA law)
  • Isn't the Patent Office responsible for this?

    Yes and no. Read this blog entry by the Director of the USPTO. Essentially, the availability of information is overwhelming and the government is looking for the public to help them.

    Here is an except to highlight the need: To determine whether an invention is patentable, a patent examiner must evaluate it in light of the state-of-the-art. But innovation moves fast and important advances may be documented only in hard-to-access corporate records or any number of other far-flung repositories. Finding, among a sea of documents, the most relevant ones, especially in areas where terms are non-standardized, can be difficult.

    Whitehouse Initiative Crowdsourcing Prior Art — To help ensure that U.S. patents are of the highest quality, the USPTO is announcing a new initiative focused on expanding ways for companies, experts, and the general public to help patent examiners, holders, and applicants find relevant “prior art”—that is, the technical information patent examiners need to make a determination of whether an invention is truly novel.

    Because of the above, the USPTO is looking "for examiners to access this material, such as by building a database of hard-to-find prior art." Hence, was launched. Please help us contribute to the public knowledge by using this free site and contributing new prior art documents.

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