Prior art (also "background art" or "state of the art") encompasses all information that has been made available to the public before a given date (the "priority date") that might be relevant to a patent's claims of originality. This may include, for example, other patents, scholarly articles, or technical papers that--either alone or in combination with another prior art reference--demonstrate that the challenged patent claims were not novel (anticipation) or would have been obvious (obviousness) as of the priority date.
In challenging a patent's validity, questions of novelty and obviousness are typically assessed from the perspective of an average worker in the field (or a person skilled in the art) of the subject matter described in the patent claims. Therefore, when searching for prior art, one should also consider the knowledge that a person of ordinary skill in the art would have.
In this Contest, you are trying to find prior art in order to assist in the invalidation of the patent provided in a Contest description. To do this, you must submit prior art documents which (a) describe the subject matter in the description and (b) predate the priority date provided in the description.
You can find more information about what constitutes prior art at the following links:
- What is Prior Art? From the EPO’s Inventor Handbook
- USPTO’s Seven Step Strategy for Finding Prior Art
- MPEP § 901 - Prior Art
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