Studio Alight, artists in residence at ICIA, participated in the Dutch Pavillion at the Architectural Biennale in Venice 2018. The exhibited piece was the Prior Art Automaton. The piece is part of a larger exhibition, Institute of Patent Infringement , who address the problems with the existing legal infrastructure which enables ”Big-Tech” to dominate issues concerning automatization, now and in the future. Prior art Automaton was also exhibited at the Victoria and Albert Museum during London Design Festival in September and at the Het Nieuw Instituut in Rotterdam in November 2018.


The PRIOR ART AUTOMATON is a proposal which does not concern the patents Amazon has already taken. But the ones which they intend on taking in the future. The PRIOR ART AUTOMATON is an artistic speculation and a fully functioning machine constructed to obstruct the system of legal patents.



In patent law, before any patent claim can be issued, there is a need to investigate what is referred to as prior art. Prior art refers to the information that has been made public before a patent application was made and can, if it exists, question a patents originality, i.e if a patent is described in prior art it is not valid. The definition of prior art is as follows: Prior art must be available in some way to the public, and in many countries, the information needs to be recorded in a fixed form somehow. [1]

In order to address the system of patent claims companies such as Amazon are implementing, we are creating a machine learning algorithm that automates the creation of prior art through combining Amazon’s already existing patents with other fields.

The purpose of this is to automate and generate prior art that will render it impossible to create patent claims as prior art is already published. Once a novel idea is shared publicly and in a fixed form it is forever out of limits for any patent to be made that has resemblance to it. This is done in the form of a largescale printer that will be publicly displayed within an exhibition space, and also by using the blockchain in order to create a timestamp on the prior art, thus making it legally valid. The PRIOR ART AUTOMATON will run continuously, also after being exhibited.