Google Launches 'Prior Art Finder' For Patents

from the interesting-development dept

Google has announced a new offering called the Prior Art Finder, in which it tries to help anyone find prior art on patents. When you view a patent via Google’s patent database, there will now be a button you can click, which tries to take terms from the patent, and displays a variety of related info from the date that the patent was filed:

The Prior Art Finder identifies key phrases from the text of the patent, combines them into a search query, and displays relevant results from Google Patents, Google Scholar, Google Books, and the rest of the web. You’ll start to see the blue “Find prior art” button on individual patent pages starting today.

What I find most interesting about this is the fact that they’re dating the results of the search to anything existing prior to the date of the filing. One of the big complaints that people make when others discuss how obvious or non-novel a patent is, is that it’s impossible to go back to how the world was at the time the patent was filed. This effort seems to take one step in the direction of fixing that, though the quality of the results will matter quite a bit. I do wonder how useful this tool will be in the early days (especially concerning much older patents when there wasn’t nearly as much info online), but I could see how it would become much more useful in the future, as Google both improves it and when it’s searching a much larger database of knowledge and information.

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Comments on “Google Launches 'Prior Art Finder' For Patents”

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27 Comments
Jeremy Lyman (profile) says:

Assuming Google keeps it up

Looks like they’ve been at a specific patent search for 6 years.
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Google_Patents

I bet they know it’s in their own interest to make the poor system we have work as best as we can; and it fits in with their general ideology of organizing the worlds information. They may roll it into another service somewhere down the road, but I doubt we’ll lose the functionality without some company-wide catastrophe.

art guerrilla (profile) says:

um, so ? ? ?

i don’t get it: USPTO ignores prior art as it is, HOW is simply having an easy search mechanism (for regular people) going to ‘force’ them to acknowledge prior art ? ? ?
seems like it is just going to make the frustration of patent applicants more intense when their super-duper-googleized prior art esearch is ignored, just like always…
art guerrilla
aka ann archy
eof

Jim McCoy (profile) says:

Prior Art Argument

Isn’t everything based upon prior art?

I mean I understand that something do seem and probably are trivial; but this almost seems like attempt to get anything someone comes up with dismissed (or worse, forced to give away ) based upon the assumption of some previous technique.

Correct me if I’m wrong, but even prior art evolves if someone dedicates time and energy to find a better way of doing something. And giving away one’s time and effort for the “betterment of society” is nice and all, but it doesn’t put food on the table for very long. At worse, it turns on into a worker drone, always trying to stay ahead of some never-ending path.

I guess as I see it, patents serve to allow one to get a breather and possibly enjoy some of the reward of the work they put in. The evolution of technology is inevitable, but going at a break-neck pace is unhealthy.

Jim

John Fenderson (profile) says:

Prior Art Argument

Prior art is not intended to prevent patents from improving an existing invention (which is what most patents are about). It’s intended to prevent people from patenting things that already existed.

If I develop a better car tire, the fact that car tires already exist does not invalidate the patent. If, however, my improvement already existed prior to my filing or I want to patent the concept of the car tire itself, the patent should not be valid.

staff says:

what do you know about patents?

“What I find most interesting about this is the fact that they’re dating the results of the search to anything existing prior to the date of the filing”

That’s because you cannot invalidate a patent with art dated after the date of filing. Once again, all you know about patents is you don’t have any.

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