April 30, 2009, 2:12 am
Red Hat's legal team share some insights about discovering prior art: "In patent lingo, ‚Äúprior art‚Äù refers to evidence of what was already known in the field. There‚Äôs no limit on the form the prior art may take, so long as it was publicly available prior to the invention date. It could be an earlier patent, but it could also be lots of other things, including software code, journal articles, white papers, textbooks, instruction manuals, and slides handed out at technical conferences. It could even be a software application that you wrote and posted on a bulletin board years ago. Using prior art, a patent challenger, in litigation or through a proceeding in the PTO called a reexamination, can invalidate a patent on the basis that it was not truly inventive."