In the CPC class of invention patents, that I am searching in, a lot of drawings show aspects of a invention, that aren't explicitly described in the text. Does that aspect of the invention still count as prior art? Would that be an example of common knowledge?

3 Answers 3


It all depends on what the skilled person can infer from the drawings together with the rest of the document and the common general knowledge. If the drawings make sense to the skilled person and teachings can be derived from it, then it is enabled prior art.


Everything that is relevant is prior art. It is quite possible for an examiner to combine two pieces of prior art to keep from granting an application. You would have to explain why the combination is not obvious to one skilled in the field. Patent attorneys are skilled at such arguments.


You have two good answers. I'll focus on your side question about "common knowledge". I'm not sure what you mean but only things in patents that are in claims are protected. All other information that may be new is "dedicated to the public". The catch is that there may be continuing applications that are part of the same family. Those applications can claim material that was unclaimed in other members of the patent family.

Until there are no pending applications the unclaimed material could be claimed. For your main question, the usual short-hand answer is "its good for what it teaches".

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