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Prior art in strange places: The Beano, Donald Duck and 2001 as prior art

Prior artA conversation seen on Twitter the other week got me thinking about prior art originating from strange places. We’re all used to receiving patent literature or conference papers as prior art. Sometimes if you’ve “pitched the invention wrong” you might even receive a Wikipedia page as prior art but what’s the oddest prior art you’ve seen in a patent or other IP related case?

How about 2001: A Space Odyssey? Or The Beano? Or a Donald Duck comic? Believe it or not, these are actual sources of prior art as we’ll see below. (more…)