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Prior rights

Definition : Prior rights

The prior rights constitute all publicly available information prior to the filing date of the application for an industrial property title.

In other words, prior art refers to any invention, trademark, design, or other creation that has been disclosed or registered prior to an application for industrial property protection.

Prior art can affect the validity of an application for industrial property protection, as it means that a person or company has already created or used a similar invention or trademark before applying for protection.

In the context of patents, for example, prior art can be constituted by publication, public demonstration or prior commercial use of the invention. If prior art is discovered, this may invalidate the patent, as it means that the invention is not new or was not invented by the patent applicant.

For example, here are general steps for conducting a prior art search before filing a patent application:

  1. Determine search terms. It's important to determine the appropriate search terms for your invention. These should be broad enough to cover all similar inventions, but precise enough to avoid unnecessary search results. The International Patent Classifications (IPC) can help determine appropriate search terms.
  2. Perform an online search. Perform an online search of patent and scientific publication databases. There are several freely available patent databases, including the European Patent Office (EPO), the World Intellectual Property Organization (WIPO) and the United States Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO).
  3. Study the results. Examine the results of your search and identify relevant documents that could be prior art for your invention. These documents could be patents, scientific publications, technical documents, sales catalogs or public announcements.
  4. Analyze relevant documents. Carefully analyze the relevant documents to determine whether they are prior art for your invention. Assess whether the documents describe or claim elements similar or identical to those of your invention.
  5. Synthesize your results. Summarize your search results and use them to assess whether your invention is new and distinct from identified prior art.

It's important to note that prior art searching is a complex and time-consuming process. It may be useful to call on an intellectual property professional to help you with this process.