"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."
Additionally, the Library of Engineering and Science at Purdue University (located in the WALC) is designated a Patent and Trademark Resource Center (PTRC) by the USPTO.
PTRC staff are information experts trained to use search tools to access patent and trademark information. Additionally, on-site,the library has access to PubWest and PubEast, patent examiner-based search systems.