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Find Patents

A quick guide to finding patents

Why Patents?

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  • Identify new research fronts and/or licensing opportunities
  • Avoid duplication of research efforts
  • Learn how something works (diagrams, detailed description)
  • Find information on a company’s activities, or identify experts in a field
  • Gain protection for an idea or invention
  • It is estimated that 85-90% of technical information disclosed in patents appear no place else
  • Patents are historically significant primary documents covering over two centuries of U.S. innovation.

"Solar Thermoelectric Generator" by Eric Toberer, Lauryn Baranowski, and Emily Warren. U.S. Patent 9,331,258 B2 (May 3, 2016).

Core Electronic Resources

Example Patent Citation

"Energy integrative building with ecological environmental protection" by Xudong Liu, Geng Liu, and Ziyan Liu. U.S. Patent 8,615,940 (Dec. 31, 2013). Available at: Google, Patents, Accessed: 12/09/2016.

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Quick Info About Patents

Patent: A property right granted by the Government of the United States of America to an inventor “to exclude others from making, using, offering for sale, or selling the invention throughout the United States or importing the invention into the United States” for a limited time in exchange for public disclosure of the invention when the patent is granted.

There are Three Types of Patents:

1) Utility patents may be granted to anyone who invents or discovers any new and useful process, machine, article of manufacture, or composition of matter, or any new and useful improvement thereof;
2) Design patents may be granted to anyone who invents a new, original, and ornamental design for an article of manufacture; and
3) Plant patents may be granted to anyone who invents or discovers and asexually reproduces any distinct and new variety of plant.

Patent Searching Basics