The growth of the Internet has affected countless aspects of daily life, including the patent system. Internet-based legal research has grown considerably, given the convenience of general search agents such as Google, legally-focused search agents such as Westlaw and Lexis, and patent-focused search agents such as the PAIR system of the United States Patent and Trademark Office. These legal research tools have not only made it easier to find prior art, they have also expanded the volume of information that is available to one of ordinary skill in the art. Consequently, the traditional rules of so-called “analogous arts” are changing. The Internet has made it easier to render unpatentable an invention that has a parallel in some other field. If the inventor through a routine Internet search could find prior art that has even a remote correlation to the invention, then that invention may be rendered unpatentable. The conflicting case law suggests that a new standard may be necessary to define “analogous arts” in light of a world that has changed faster than the law.
Hal Milton, How the Internet has Removed the Historical Rationale for "Non-Analogous Arts", 13 J. Marshall Rev. Intell. Prop. L. 68 (2013)