Patents are defined as "A licence to manufacture, sell, or deal in an article or commodity, to the exclusion of other persons; in modern times, a grant from a government to a person or persons conferring for a certain definite time the exclusive privilege of making, using, or selling some new invention." (Oxford English Dictionary 2nd edition)
Patent literature is a rich source of technical and research data much of which is never published or disclosed elsewhere. In addition, patents and patent applications are often published earlier than academic papers.
There are generally 4 types of patents:
- UTILITY Patents
- Utility Patents may be granted to anyone who invents or discovers any new and useful process, machine, article of manufacture, or compositions of matters, or any new useful improvement thereof. This is the primary type of U.S. Patent.
- DESIGN Patents
- Design patents may be granted to anyone who invents a new, original, and ornamental design for an article of manufacture.
- PLANT Patents
- Plant patents may be granted to anyone who invents or discovers and asexually reproduces any distinct and new variety of plants.
- REISSUE Patents
- Reissue Patents are granted if there is a substantial error or errors in the original patent.
In addition to the USPTO, esp@cenet and Google databases linked to below, there are a number of other resources available to UCD that index patent literature. Among those are: BIOSIS, NTIS and SciFinder Scholar. For information on how to access and search these resources, see the PSE Databases page.
Selected Patent Resources
- United States Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO)
- Conducting a Patent Search at a Patent and Trademark Depository Library (PTDL)
- Patent Offices (list maintained by WIPO)
- UC Davis Intellectual Property Management
- Essentials of Patents (PSE T333 .G53 2003)
- Patent fundamentals for scientists and engineers 3rd ed. (requires UCD IP)
- Filing Patents Online: A Professional Guide (requires UCD IP)
- Fundamentals of patenting and licensing for scientists and engineers (PSE T339 .M3 2009)
- Title 35 -- U.S. Code -- Patents
- Title 37 -- Code of Federal Regulations Patents, Trademarks, and Copyrights
- Google Patents
- Patent of the Week
- Wacky Patent of the Month
Quick Search for Patents
Already know the US Patent you are looking for? (search via USPTO)
Examples: 1,234,567, D123,456, PP1,234, RE35,312, etc.
...or know the US Patent Application Number [recent only] you are looking for? (search via USPTO)
...or try a keyword search of the USPTO
Know the World, European, German, Japanese, US, etc. Patent number? (search via esp@cenet)
Search US Patents via Google (search via Google Patents)
Examples: 7594292, espresso tamper, D234567, PP2345, US6510783, RE25312, etc.