One of the requirements for patent eligibility is “novelty,” which is simply another word used to mean that the invention in new. An invention is novel if it is different from anything previously patented, publicly described or used, on sale or otherwise available to the public anywhere in the world. The sum of these previous public works is called “prior art.”
A search for prior art can never be exhaustive, because some obscure publication which discloses the claimed invention but goes unnoticed may always exist. A prior art search can only be sufficient for the purposes of applying for or issuing a patent. As the old saying goes, “You can’t prove a negative” — that is, one can never prove the absence of prior art beyond a doubt.
A prior art search is not a simple matter. If you want to have a better understanding of whether your invention will be deemed novel by the USPTO, consult with Brooks Acordia’s experienced patent attorneys.