Prior art searching is an important component of the process of determining whether an invention/idea is novel, and thus whether money should be invested in its development and protection (e.g. through filing a patent application). Although patent lawyers can be contracted to do prior art searching, this is very expensive and generally public institutions such as universities and science councils will do their own prior art searching. Also, patent lawyers would typically involve inventors in their search activities anyway, since these people are the best positioned in terms of understanding of the field to judge the relevance of prior art relating to their invention.
At the CSIR, prior art search support is provided by the Unit / Centre R&D Outcomes Offices, and also by CSIRIS (CSIR Information Services). However, as indicated above, the inventors themselves are really the best positioned to do a quality prior art search (or at least to interpret / analyse prior art search results and their relevance to an invention).
Thus it is important to understand the basics of how to do a quality prior art search.
Where to find more information:
1. See this presentation for some more basic background.
2. Explore the Toolkit resources and links to find further information on prior art searching!
3. Watch this space – we are developing a CSIR Technology Transfer Operating Manual that will contain more detailed prior art searching guidelines and tips.