By: Mark R. Malek
As I was perusing my intellectual property news after traveling most of this past week, I found out about this Google’s new “Prior Art Finder” tool. I gave it a shot and it was pretty darn cool. In short, the tool “searches multiple sources for related content that existed at the time the patent was filed.”
Personally, I have used Google Patents to do some prior art searching in the past. It is important for inventors to identify prior art that can be a bar to patentability. A great way to do that is to conduct a patent search, but sometimes, a great start is to just search using the tools that are out there for free. When you conduct a search using Google Patents, several references will be located. These references will likely be related to the invention that you are searching for. The new Google tool will allow you to identify additional sources of prior art.
I read one article that seems to indicate that the Prior Art Finder can become an Infringement Finder for patent trolls. Perhaps it may be the case, but at the very least this will allow inventors to enhance their prior art searching by viewing additional references that are related to their invention.
I am going to follow up on this article with a series of articles on patent searching, whether or not you need to do it, whether or not you should do it, and what you have to do with prior art once you find it. I will try to use this tool more in the future and let you know how my results come out.