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Prior Art

Prior art is all the previous inventions and literature that may be seen to anticipate an invention.  The term may arise when an invention is building upon or using an idea made before the filling of the desired patent application.  Prior art disclosures must be public and may be in written form, though in some jurisdictions an oral or physical disclosure may suffice.  When identified, prior art may be used to prevent an application from receiving a patent (although this may vary if the prior art is in possession of the original filer or that person has rights to the patent).