prior art

noun

Definition of prior art

patent law
: knowledge that is publicly available (as from the description in an already existing patent, from publications, or from public use or sale) before the date of filing a claim for a patent for an invention
  • a finding by the judge that there was no advancement of design in the new invention over the prior art

First Known Use of prior art

1883

in the meaning defined above

See Words from the same year
NEW! Time Traveler

Law Dictionary

prior art

noun

legal Definition of prior art

: the processes, devices, and modes of achieving the end of an alleged invention that were known or knowable by due diligence before and at the date of the invention; also : the knowledge or description of such processes, devices, or modes used chiefly in patent law

Seen and Heard

What made you want to look up prior art? Please tell us where you read or heard it (including the quote, if possible).

Love words? Need even more definitions?

Subscribe to America's largest dictionary and get thousands more definitions and advanced search—ad free!

WORD OF THE DAY

to hasten

Get Word of the Day daily email!

Test Your Vocabulary

Test Your Emoji Exceptionalism

  • test-your-emoji-exceptionalism-written-with-a-lot-of-emoji
  • What is this emoji intended to represent: 🤳
True or False

Test your knowledge - and maybe learn something along the way.

TAKE THE QUIZ
SCRABBLE® Sprint

Test Your Knowledge - and learn some interesting things along the way.

TAKE THE QUIZ

Love words? Need even more definitions?

Subscribe to America's largest dictionary and get thousands more definitions and advanced search—ad free!