Patent & ip professionals

Dependable and Timely Results for 20+ Years

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Why Prior Art Searches

History of Excellence

Prior Art Searches, Inc has been a stable, successful, and continuously growing corporation since 1987 with roots going all the way back to 1981. Prior Art Searches has completed over 25,000 IP jobs with an incredibly high level of customer satisfaction.


Rapid, Accurate and Secure Results

As a technology leader in the field, Prior Art Searches, Inc established PriorArt.com in the late 1990s. Over the next several years PAS has transitioned to a new integrated web platform that combines client communication, search report and document delivery, and invoicing. Our clients have secure access to their documents, formal letters, and other references wherever they have internet access. This portal in continuously enhanced to improve the level of collaboration experienced between our firm, our clients, and their respective teams.


United States based Operations and Proximity to the U.S. Patent Office

PAS is a “C” type corporation organized under the laws of the Commonwealth of Virginia (Corporate ID #02969665). With a full time headquarters situated less than 2 miles away from the U.S. Patent Office, PAS has a significant advantage in facilitating IP services.


Distinguished Research Team

PAS typically employs technical specialists who have had extensive patent exposure as patent examiners, patent law students, or years of experience. With 25,000+ searches completed, PAS can rapidly identify the appropriate talent for a particular technology.

Although PAS considers searching itself to be an art form where we allow the searcher to use a creative mind to investigate a topic freely and fully, our team is meticulous with regard to search competence, organizational facility, and uniformity of style. We typically use standard publicly available databases: uspto.gov; google; espacenet; scrius, journalseek.net; ip.com. Our searchers find documents that are in English or which have English language abstracts regardless of their language or origin.

Longevity in the Business

Tommy Foster is President and Founder of PAS. Tommy owns and controls Prior Art Searches, Inc. through stock ownership that is held in the Tommy Foster Living Trust. Tommy organized PAS on January 1, 1987 as a successor to a sole proprietorship in which the same lines of work were engaged in since 1981. Prior to this time Tommy was employed by the law firm of Lane, Aitken, Dunner & Ziems. It was there that Tommy received personal training for four years to become a professional patent searcher. Prior to that Tommy was a technical writer and produced technical manuals for the U.S. Army. Tommy graduated with dean’s list honors (B.A.) from University of Virginia in 1972 and served in U.S. Peace Corps. While in the Fiji Islands he worked with the Public Works Department as an Information Officer. Studies at University of Virginia include engineering, business and humanities. Tommy is a native Virginian and also operates a family farm located in rural Virginia.

The Bottom Line

Principally, the motivation for selecting Prior Art Searches, Inc is to reduce risk of exposure to unforeseen situations by having us carefully examine the documents available. With long dependencies for the typical patent application it is appropriate to attempt to predict the actions of an examiner by knowing ahead of time what documents he or she is likely to find. The other large motivation is to separate the responsibilities by having a firewall between the search activity and other legal and business decisions surrounding intellectual property.