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In most patent  laws , prior art or state of the art  is all information  that has been disclosed to the public in any form before a given date. However, under United States Patent Law , non-public prior art, such as a sale carried out in secret (e.g., under a non-disclosure agreement ), qualifies as prior art in certain circumstances. In Europe , prior art does not include information kept secret, whether from trade secrecy  or just a simple lack of interest in publication. (cited from en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Prior_Art )
- 60 minutes easy listening introduction on Prior Art
- Slides: http://www.pubpat.org/Finding_Prior_Art/PUBPAT%20Finding%20Prior%20Art%20Slides.pdf 
- Audio Portion of Finding Prior Art for an Issued Patent Program - ca. 60 minutes OGG  39MB / MP3  44MB
- Published publically (this includes web publishing)
- Understandable by a person of regular skill in the field.
- Publication date (not necessarily the public publication date?)
- The art itself (or a reference to it, if copyright considerations prohibit including the art itself)
- If the art itself is not understandable by a person of regular skill in the field, it must be accompanied by appropriate explanatory material.
Things easily showing a "publication date"
- version-control archives
- mailing list archives
- Usenet archives
- TV-Shows / Videos
- CDs / DVDs
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