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:
- to locate detailed technical information not available elsewhere;
- for patentability purposes, to start to determine if an invention is "novel" by assessing whether it is covered by an existing patent;
- 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):