Skip to main content

MET 401 / ECET 430 Capstone Research Guide: 1.2 Survey of Competing Products, etc

Dr. Frederick Berry & Dr. Phil Sanger

Patents

What is a Patent? (from: Purdue Libraries Patent Guide)

"A patent is a property right granted by a government agency (in the United States, it's the US Patent & Trademark Office) for a novel, useful, and non-obvious invention.  Patent protection lasts twenty years from the filing date and allows the inventor or their assignee to exclude other people from making, using, selling, or importing an invention."

Patent literature is a rich source of information for engineering design.  Patents searches are often conducted for one of three reasons: 

  1. to locate detailed technical information not available elsewhere;
  2. for patentability purposes, to start to determine if an invention is "novel" by assessing whether it is covered by an existing patent;
  3. to determine the "state of the art" in a given area of technology -- get design inspiration!

Effective patent searching involves more than using keywords.  Save time and maximize your success by completing this module:

Patents Search Strategy Tutorial (approx. 5 minutes)

Public & Free Sources:

Patents Databases (Purdue users only):

More Resources Available:

Purdue Libraries Patent Guide 

Google - Advanced Search Techniques

Make the most out of your Google searches!

Search operators are words that can be added to searches to help narrow down the results. Don’t worry about memorizing every operator, because you can also use the Advanced Search page to create these searches.

Operator How to use it
site: Get results from certain sites or domains.
Examples: olympics site:nbc.com and olympics site:.gov
related: Find sites that are similar to a web address you already know.
Example: related:time.com
OR Find pages that might use one of several words.
Example: marathon OR race
info: Get information about a web address, including the cached version of the page, similar pages, and pages that link to the site.
Example: info:google.com
cache: See what a page looks like the last time Google visited the site.
Example: cache:washington.edu

Note: When you search using operators or punctuation marks, don't add any spaces between the operator and your search terms. A search for site:nytimes.com will work, but site: nytimes.com won't.

(Information on this page from: Google Search Help - Search Operators)

US8930044B1