What is prior art?

Minneapolis patent attorney Suneel Arora defines prior art in the contexts of patents.

Contact Suneel Arora

Email: [email protected]

Phone: (612) 373-6951


The important thing to know about prior art is that it’s really the entire body of knowledge that’s known to mankind at the time that you made your invention. So the whole idea of a patent is that you’re bringing something new and non-obvious to the public and that it’s distinguishable over the prior art. Prior can be anything. Prior art includes the millions and millions of patents that are there in the patent databases. It includes all the technical literature that is known to mankind anywhere in the world. And it includes products that are out there being sold in the market place. Anything that is generally known is the prior art. And the idea is that patents are only awarded to inventions that are novel and non-obvious over the prior art.